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ISBN: 9780977578757   •   62 pp. pbk   •   RRP: 23.95

Jordie Albiston’s poetry is known for its rhythmic power, buoying a sharp and often dark intelligence. Vertigo invokes her background in music, using elastically spaced bar-lines to punctuate its energetic cadences. And, modelled like a cantata, it lays out something of music’s paradox – emotional intensity flashing from formal composure.

Its poems tell the progress of grief for a lost love. This comes as intricately personal, yet the discernment hits as universal.

Open-voiced arias are interleaved with recitatives that play into unexpected corners of emotion and imagining, with irony and élan. The individual story then disappears into a series of orphic choruses, spoken by a barely determinate ‘we’ – descants upon displacement as human experience, and the mystery of recovery.

Each chorus is a vertiginous tale, made of shards of myth, allegory and idea. Among these, a key motif is powerfully engaged: the sea coast – as respite, meeting place and solvent.

Here is a selection of poems from Vertigo, a cantata.

Reviews: Vertigo, a cantata