Thursday 1 May 2014

Book review: Where Shadows Go

Book review:  Where Shadows Go by Kathryn Hamann

read and loved Kathryn’s earlier book A Slight Fuzzing of Perspective which was joint winner of the Caleb Poetry award 2011, ( you can read my review on the link above) so I was really looking forward to reading this book.  While I found it intriguing to read, it is a book that doesn’t pull any punches. The poet leaves herself exposed and vulnerable. It is an emotional read and I could feel the pain of the poet and the rejection experienced at times. For this reason it is not a comfortable read, though it is worth reading.

Between was one of my favourites with its sovereign silk of night and the bleak retort of humour in Protective Custody. Then there is the mask presented to the world in Bashful and the bleak humour in From Your Service Provider. This is contrasted with the delicate short poem Wind Weighted on the adjoining page. One that is very stark is Shame

Diagnosis kissed

my lungs    and those present

friends fled

stripping me naked

of love

Others, including Fire Sale 1 and Fire sale 2, are real, heartfelt and heartbreaking. At times that made it hard to keep reading. Do Not echoes that of the famous Dylan Thomas poem but with a twist. Manners for the Dying presents a true but sad comment on society and the way people often shy away from the terminally ill.

Another favourite was the short poem On the Way Home, beautifully enhanced by the accompanying colour photograph. I also loved Where Shadows Go the title poem and the simplicity of Inbox flashes up.  In some poems like Expectation and Retreat the tone is an honest outpouring of emotion that is angry and accusatory.

Like her earlier book it is beautifully presented with not only the poems but accompanying black and white and the occasional stunning colour photographs and illustrations. The cover is brilliant. However I failed to see the purpose of the accompanying CD.  I guess I was expecting to hear the poems read or some accompanying music. What my computer picked up was a load of noise that sounded like static. Maybe that was the point? If so I missed it. I opted to not persist any further with that to see if it changed into anything less offensive to the ears.

This is a book to read more than once and to read perhaps in smaller portions, so the poems can be digested fully.


  1. Hi Dale - Poetry isn't usually my thing but you've intrigued me with this review. Thanks!

    1. My pleasure Andrea. I read a lot of poetry as well as fiction.

  2. Hi Dale, Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. It's possible the CD was faulty, or not in a format that's compatible with your computer?

  3. Guess that's a thought, Narelle.


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