Review of Dart by Alice Oswald

Dart by Alice Oswald
Published by Faber and Faber
Review by Cameron Self
Dart is unusual in that, although it comprises a sequence of poems, it is essentially one long poem – detailing the journey of the River Dart from its source on Dartmoor to the sea.
It is also unusual in that it includes the voices of many people who were interviewed and recorded by Oswald over a two year period. All of these people’s lives are connected in some way with the river, either as walkers, fishermen, sewage workers, ferrymen, water abstractors, boat builders etc. These different voices (although possessing a somewhat similar poetic tone) give a first hand immediacy to the poem. From the sewage worker, for example, we hear the admirably graphic: ‘I fork the screenings out – a stink-mass of loopaper and whathaveyou, rags cottonbuds, you name it.’ Or from the stonewaller: ‘You get upriver stones and downriver stones. Beyond Totnes bridge and above Longmarsh the stones are horrible grey chunks, a waste of haulage, but in the estuary they’re slatey flat stones, much darker, maybe it’s to do with the river’s changes.’
Read the entire review here.

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