side blog — Otters and Martens
Colin Simms

You can hear Colin Simms’s absolutely delight in Otters and Martens in every one of these poems. But don’t let that put you off; the poetry is high quality and takes you on a ride to his joy, the reaffirmation of his life’s work.

lochside silverschistsand disturbed–to–black–below distributed pattern–padded pewter–grade velvet–hollows grains added otter pattern wind off water levelling sibilant bevelling gritscreen bankscree

Simms doesn’t hold back on effect; and it all adds to his observations of favourite animals. This is the natural world, the bounding rhythm, the delight in life, of Gerard Manley Hopkins.

But my problem with this collection of excellent poems is the very strict theme. Every poem is about otters, or martens. It’s true the title is a bit of a giveaway, but even so…

My advice would be to dip into this collection occasionally, read some of the wonderful poetry, and get out before you start getting irritated with more bloody otters.

…before I know, I’m picking up the particular pattern I’m picking up that pattern of sense and on memory familiarity is in, and in more than, comfort of an old tune against other noises in the same darkness

I think if I’d read this collection when I was 15 (and presuming I’d have understood it) my life could have gone in quite a different direction.


Otters and Martens
Colin Simms
164 pages
Shearsman
2004
ISBN 0 907562 50 7