Vivian Smith

Review Short: Vivian Smith’s Here, There and Elsewhere

It’s a long time since I’ve read Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space, but I find myself lifting it off the shelf again and flicking through the contents page. I’ve been reading Vivian Smith’s new book, Here, There and Elsewhere, a reflective collection that is mostly linked by notions of memory, age and time, enduring themes that Smith handles with dignity and sleight of hand. But space is interestingly also central to this collection, in subject as well as craft. In Bachelardian fashion, Smith, in many of these works ‘explores the significance of the various kinds of space that attract and concentrate the poetic imagination’ (The Poetics of Space. Beacon Press, 1964). It’s not surprising therefore, that almost all of the poems in this book are sonnets, the poetic form which to my mind makes the most adroit demands on space.

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