LEARNING TO LOOK
Poems by Chris Considine
Chris Considine was formerly a schoolteacher in Bedford. She now lives in Upper Swaledale, North Yorkshire, where she spends her time reading, writing, painting and singing. Her poems have appeared in many leading UK poetry journals, and she has published two previous pamphlet collections: St Cuthbert and Bystanders (Redbeck Press, 2001), runner-up in the Redbeck Press Competition, and Swaledale Sketchbook (Smith/Doorstop Books, 2002) which was a winner in the Poetry Business Competition 2001, and shortlisted for the Forward Prize in the best first collection category.
Learning to Look is Chris Considine's first full collection. The title sequence consists of 10 poems about Art Class. The opening sequence of 10 poems, "Touched by War", was highly commended in the Blue Nose Poets Competition 2000. A third sequence, "The Lonelyhearts Column", consists of 10 snapshots of recognizable types - "professional widower", "stylish romantic", "musician seeks lady for inspiration" etc - and casts a satiric eye on the whole dating game. A fourth section of poems, "Stonewallers and other poems" is not a sequence. The subject matter of these poems ranges from Swaledale, sheep, and marmalade-making to the Himalayas, Emma Knightley, and George Stubbs. This is an outstanding first full collection and Chris Considine is a poet to watch.
Learning to Look: Art Class 9
It's not so much learning to look as re-learning.
The child took so long to walk home to lunch
there wasn't time to eat. I only remember
the fascination of earthworms and roadworks.
Now, my weekly journey to Askrigg is magical.
The car protects me from too much seeing
or I might never arrive. The high point comes
after the tortuous climb past Crow Trees
and the slow threading through icepuddles
and greened-over spoil-heaps, in a shock of emptiness
when the whole of Upper Wensleydale opens
under its miles of air. Glimmer of Semerwater
in its hollow. Addlebrough rising slowly
from the brownness as I descend.
Since I began coming it has been mostly
winter, colours damped down. Grey-brown of rock
and heather. Buff and khaki winter grass.
Sometimes a thin snow has repainted
the long ridges in cloud colours. At last
I know how to use my collection of greys.
They range from almost black to off-white
via pinkish, mushroom-beige, greenish,
dull-blue - drabness rich in potential.
Blue at the top, green at the bottom, charcoal
and brown for hills. My shades of grey make up
the colours of wilderness, this grave place
beautiful even in rain, vital,
not needing the sun to shine.
LEARNING TO LOOK
Price £7.95 per copy post free (£5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover illustration: “Summer: the Ure from Ellerkin” by Piers Browne
© Piers Browne 1994
Publication: SPRING 2003 (76 pages laminated paperback)