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Review: Approximately in the Key of C, by Tony Curtis

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One of the pleasures of turning the pages of Tony Curtis's latest collection, Approximately in the Key of C, is to discover what seemingly random topic he will choose next and where he will go with it, with his captivating ingenuity, neither flashy nor pretentious, and great tenderness. It could be a mole that is his inspiration, or a barn, clouds, a lighthouse keeper's daughter, a stubborn historian, sex.
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Many of the poems in this collection touch on, or deal directly with the business of writing poetry, and other poets - Michael Hartnett, Emily Dickinson, Seamus Heaney, Eavan Boland, Elizabeth Bishop. There are references to poems written on Tibetan prayer flags, and to the Russian poets Osip Mandelstam and Marina Tsvetaeva.
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In the last poem in the collection, he poses a simple question - 'Do poets ever reach their destination?' - and wends his way, via humorous and surprising comparisons with 'a country bus', 'a postman on his bicycle', 'rusted old cargo ships', to his conclusion: I hailed a sailor, Welcome home!
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