Understudies: New and Selected Poems
Anne-Marie Fyfe - as is apparent in her Understudies: New and Selected Poems - is a subtle and engaging poet. She has developed much like a painter, spare themes moving towards a deeper complexity. Her earlier work includes quite a few domestic interiors; rooms recalled from an Irish childhood and stories told by parents and grandparents. Later poems often feature crucial or pivotal moments in her life and the imagined lives of others: a significant conversation, the look a woman gives herself in the mirror when she’s about to leave her husband, the odour left in the air by a certain perfume. All this eventually evolves into her characteristic poem, a cityscape wrought with careful observation and melded with flashbacks of memory, both her own and including her family, and others, beautifully imagined. Her voice is direct, with a conversational tone that invites you into the narrative. This volume includes selections from her previous books: Late Crossing (1999), Tickets from a Blank Window (2002) – both from Rockingham Press, and The Ghost Twin (Peterloo, 2005).