Living Next to Leda
This is a remarkable first collection of poems by Barbara Bentley. Her distinctively witty voice brings us the up-to-date versions of the females of mythology.
'Noah’s Wife’ is plagued by her DIY-mad, boat-building spouse, ’Waking Beauty’ wakes from a cryogenic sleep into a bizarre future and the 'Leda’ of the title poem is a deranged neighbour, convinced of a startling dream. Our consumer society and its exhortations to the modern woman to ’have it all’ are scrutinised with considerable flair and irony.
Watch out for ’The Telephone Sonnets’ - a sequence that reveals tales of lust, infidelity, betrayal and revenge, often in the guise of techno-jargon. There are also meditative works on family, friends, childhood memories and brief glimpses of past lives such as 'Moons’, a short series that subtly illuminates the consequences of a marriage. The reader will find much to admire in this lively and skilful debut.