Review: ‘Jiggle Sac’ by Sue Spiers

This is Sue Spiers first poetry collection. I understand she is now working on her second. The title is a juicy pun on The Rattle Bag anthology (Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney, eds, 2005).

A word about the poet may help explain her inspiration. She was born in Cyprus, lives in the UK, is an Open University graduate and an involved member of the OU’s Poetry Society (an active group of workshopping poets). Some of the poems in Jiggle Sac have appeared in such places as Folio (the creative writing magazine of Mensa), Dawntreader, The Interpreter’s House, a Raving Beauties anthology and Bloodaxe.

The first thing to say about Spiers is that everything is grist to her poetical mill. In these 60 or so poems are villanelles, sonnets, free and rhymed verse, abstractions grasped firmly by the tail, and concrete poetry (a beautifully realised pregnant woman in silhouette); there are eulogies, a paean to the fanny fart, the laugh-out-loud funny, the witty, the nonsense, the moving and the profound; there are poems exploring the domestic, the environment, sex, dating, death, origins – an enormous breadth of material. The gaze she turns upon this material is piercing and her talent, teamed with her skills with language and form, enable her to craft poems which delve deeply into her subject matter.

Spiers’ particular gifts are to see each of her subjects from a fresh perspective, and to paint her poetry in sure yet economical strokes – as here, with the poem ‘Fields of Dorset – Jackalents’, the first line of which runs:

“Sea-bitter winds crushed their boats ashore,”

I have known poets – myself included – take a stanza or more to convey what is here laid down in a single line.

Or this from ‘The Sun on the Other Side’ about a hedgehog foraging:

“… the footprints of his spirit/wandering the night when the sun/is in the dreaming,”

And finally this, from ‘Snow Castles’ about a child encountering snow for the first time:

“… albino spiders parachuting/softly onto the lawn, shrubs and path.”

This is a poetry collection which has much to say about the way we live now and I heartily recommend it to you for its slant-wise look at life.

I look forward very much to Spiers next collection to see where she ventures next.

Published by Judi Moore

Hi there, I hope you find something to interest you here. In December 2017 I published my fourth book – ‘Wonders will never cease’. It’s a satirical campus novel set in the fictional Ariel University in 1985. If you enjoyed Tom Sharpe’s Porterhouse novels, Willy Russell’s ‘Educating Rita’, David Lodge’s campus novels or Malcolm Bradbury’s ‘The History Man’ back in the day, you may enjoy revisiting the ivory towers of 1980s’ academe thirty years on. See what you think. “It is December, 1985. The year is winding gently towards its close until Fergus Girvan, a Classicist at Ariel University, finds his research has been stolen by the man who is also seeking to steal his daughter. But which man is, actually, the more unscrupulous of the two? And is there hope for either of them?” In the autumn of 2015 I published a volume of short fiction: 'Ice Cold Passion and other stories'. I am also the author of novella 'Little Mouse', a shortish piece of historical fiction which I published in 2014 and, a sequel to it, 'Is death really necessary?', my eco thriller set in the near future and which, confusingly, I published in 2009. All the books are available from all good online bookshops and FeedARead on paper, and as e-books on Kindle. On a semi-regular basis, and about a month after the event, I post here reviews which I do for Big Al & Pals, the premier reviewer of indie books, based in the States. My interests tend to thrillers, SF, magic realism and other quirky stuff. On this blog are also posted the reviews I did for Leighton Buzzard Music Club over some five years up to the end of 2015. LBMC present annual seasons of eight monthly chamber music concerts at the Library Theatre in Leighton Buzzard, Bucks. They select young musicians just beginning to make their name - and the concerts are usually magnificent. I was very proud to be associated with them. I review other music, books, theatre and exhibitions which I've particularly enjoyed.

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