68 thoughts on “Selected Poems by Fiona Pitt-Kethley

  1. I have read the first four poems:
    Sky Ray Lolly
    Baby Doll
    Thoughts After a Burglary

    And I am struck by a new genre of daughterly feisty, Martian willy genre of free verse, compelling, female-Lawrencian like his Snake, and slightly not so much wordchip on the shoulder but off the block.

  2. THE FOX
    A title DHL used but …
    Not snake free verse but niftily sharp foxy rhyming couplets, and more father-daughter references and a comparison of fox and man.
    These are the sort of poems I enjoy. Word-textured and feistily crisp.


    “(I liked the geometry or our garden
    — first, the square washing-line that wouldn’t spin,
    then the two apple trees set in the lawn
    forming a triangle with the pear outside
    the circle of a fairy ring.)”

    A longer poem, a classic, I guess, full of idiosyncratic daughterly observations of even more idiosyncratic parents, particularly the father and his connection with those wearing mitres and the fallibilities of eccentrics through illicit sex and other mischance of character – or reading Poe, as the poet herself seems to have done? Assuming this is based on the theme and variations of real life?
    I felt dirtied by some of this, but all memories, whoever you are, are more often dirtied by hindsight and time, than not, I’d say. But hindsight never ends, the gestalt never clinched.


    …by girls at school, ankle socks or what? A stick-in-the-mind poem that insinuates down the page with enjambment. I’ll have to look back at it to see if it rhymed. Doubt it. Thank goodness.


    “and ice-white Chilly Willy lollies.”

    A hilarious theme and variations on a cellophane fish that emotionally curls… involving choice words on the coming of gender sex…
    A chilly day in real-time April, too, as I read this poem.


    “My school’s pool was politer.
    We had to empty our bladders first,…”

    This book is genuinely one whereby poetry would become popular if given access to readers who were made to read it first, before realising they are actually enjoying it. Seriously.
    You won’t forget this poem easily, those days when children in the 1950s, like me, wore floppy, sometimes knitted, cossies. The redolence of open pools and limbs.

    • Author’s interim comment elsewhere: “The Pic is of Sky Ray Lolly, Kindle Version. Another very accessible one. All my old work on Kindle or in Amazon paperbacks now as most was out of print.”
      I have still many poems to read in this Kindle of ‘Selected Poems’. Quite a find, so far.


    “its Scripture Room was always stuffed with knits”

    The mind boggles!
    Seriously, a great poem, stunning kaleidoscopically pungent language, deploying poetically the school, the community and social angles of charity doing with a retro feel of Richmal Crompton (William Brown) and Evadne Price (Jane Turpin).


    The next two poems seem to have titles that are hand in glove.
    Also the poet persuaded to be unbrainwashed Michelangelo, the artist’s pencil’s “caress” towards a lifestudy penis, or God’s towards Adam’s finger?


    A treatment of pretentiousness as being up your arse.
    The poet has not yet stumbled upon this review of her work, I guess.
    I have not heard any grumpy explosions or even cries of delight.
    Most writers love my famous gestalt reviews.
    Free verse themselves. With or without
    Enjambment. Or pretentiousness.


    “Superbly philistine, they saw each play
    In terms of overtime,…”

    I manhandle these poems for their own sake, checking each one off glibly for this review. They deserve better. If I earnt money doing this, I would make a better job of showcasing them, no doubt.


    I just read a poem, believe or not, about buying a vibrator in a shop, then relating it to a mandrake (John Donne’s? A screaming one?) and then having to show it to security at a cinema in case it is an IRA bomb!


    “Carrying canvasses is quite an art –”

    Blasė about posing for famous artists who like me have been made to old to do anything, white rhino then….

    Talking about men,,,

    “rode on velvet jackets, drowned in gin.”

    In the old days one wrote poems about such things under fridges.
    Now we do it on Facebook.


    “Next day’s papers
    lay in the great old stations, fresh with print.”

    A breathless evocation of land London’s streets around cinema and theatre, passing through time like the lad I once was who thought it was a great adventure the first time I could do it on my own. Now I am marooned safe at home amid my own internal night, a night just as risky as London at night?


    and yellow bird’s foot trefoil. Some cows
    looked on across a fence.”

    Bathos of seeking celebrity autographs upon their filming near a Kentish stately home.
    We are all human. We can too easily miss out a letter and let the ancient poet in us replace it with an apostrophe.

  15. Man, Woman and Superman
    “We were working in a cold November,”

    A poetic monologue about working as an extra on a Superman cinema film, including spotting or hearing about some geezer with more inside his outer underpants than normal. Super or sub.


    Two more engaging free verse slants from the point of view of a film extra.
    Enjambment, by the way, is for me like giving words an extra something, a plain bi-fork up the hessian skirt.

  17. LYING

    Ah, it’s free with blank minds!
    Role-playing during marital sex, where the alternative third-party role is inside one of the minds while the owner of the other mind truly acts out that mind’s owner him- or herself. Double-bluff or just two-timing together?


    “Last week I put my bollocks through a mangle,”

    And hard enjambment?

    Tyler Hoffman · 2001 :-
    “The end of hard enjambment signifies the girl’s attempts to erect barriers between herself and this erotic, transgressive force.”
    About a hard Frost poem, though seems.

  19. Trying Too Hard

    With all sincerity, probably an example of the primest modern blank verse –

    “Less obviously funny are the types
    who fiddle with your fasteners hopelessly
    like drunks at night getting a door undone,
    who blow in your ear in January,
    forgetting that all Nature’s doing the same,
    who pay over-efficient attention
    to your nipples as if they’re nuts and bolts
    which, once unscrewed, will make you fall apart.”

  20. AIDS

    The former, a poem of its time, very telling, ironically contiguous with the latter poem where a woman tells a man how to manipulate her best.
    Two poems that will stay with you however dated and past it the reader may become by the time the poems are read by that reader.

  21. Laryngitis
    I usually shun doctors (for you don’t know where their hands have been, though you can guess; and surgeries are full of the diseased. The coughers all have flu and bronchitis,…”

    Seem signifucant that I read the above poem today in the midst of the NHS winter flu crisis, and the doctor charged today with signing the livers he operated upon!
    Also, I can easily imagine this poet talking the socks off her old Religious Knowledge teacher!

  22. “Hang naked from the beams or dress in frills,” is part of this poetess-clad Marital Advice.

    And ‘High noon in the Oral Office’ “It’s time for a snack!” the President drawled.
    But which President? A poem written well before its time?

    “blow-dried white kids, another Toggenburg.
    The first, bored to malevolence, shat round.”

    A redolent poem of its eponymous subject-matter, although saying it is about a goat show would have taken less letters for me to use! Unless I also mentioned the brilliant Andrew Marvell mention in the poem, of course. Better than just sitting around, though, this snowed-off day.

  24. From – ‘Guide Dog’
    “Some wives or husbands quite enjoy the times
    their pompous partners put a foot in it.
    There’s not much harm in that. More sinister,
    some watch like spiders for the other’s end.”

    Then the next poem, ‘The Fear of Splitting Up’, at first seemed to follow on that theme.
    But it turns out this is where the poet is fearing doing the splits with her legs.
    Amazing that about half an hour ago I quoted this from a 1919 book (in a randomly concurrent real-time review shown here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/the-journal-of-a-disappointed-man-w-r-p-barbellion/#comment-11883 ) –
    “I hate elderly women who mention their legs. It makes me shudder.”
    No offence meant, but just drawing attention to another preternatural synchronicity in the practice of gestalt real-time reviewing.

  25. Pingback: Synchronicity rampant… | DES LEWIS’ GESTALT REAL-TIME REVIEWS

  26. “Although I’ve tried all forms and served my
    In different metres, not to mention rhyme,
    I’ve read the cuttings and am sad to see
    No journalists have nominated me.”

    I could do with the butt of canary,
    some seventeenth century as posterity or legacy.
    Instead, rest assured, what you sought is here – in this review.
    The ultimate accolade, Gestalt,
    although you may not think so.

  27. ‘Bird Watching’
    “Our nest’s a mess, but we don’t care a toss.”
    A telling poem,
    Potentially a classic,
    Telling of her life in a series of bird characters or thoughts.

    By the way, here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2018/03/15/touching-distances-anne-cluysenaar/#comment-11927, I have just started a review of some of the poems of Anne Cluysenaar, a woman who had a great influence on me in the late sixties, and upon what I have later started do with gestalt real-time reviewing through her teachings on Stylistics, The intentional fallacy, linguistics, Russian Formalism etc.

  28. ‘Men’
    ‘Married Men’
    ‘Just Good Friends’

    “I sing of Men – crude, thoughtless, kinky men.”

    Once hilarious takes on men, by a woman.
    Needs to be told to lay off. Or else.
    In this day and age, we are equal.

  29. I hope the poet and publisher do not mind me quoting the next poem in full? I shall delete it immediately should they tell me to do so. Thus, it, too, hangs by…..a thread.


    ‘Death of a Princess’ We felt we knew her better than ourselves –– On books and newspapers, in every guise, Her face beamed down from supermarket shelves; We read the gossip, lapped up all the lies. Wife, mother, supermodel, saint or star? We plainer, older mortals shed a tear, Our fantasies died with her in that car. Conscious of our own frailty, we felt fear. Another forty years, or just a day? We cannot really choose the when or how — Snuffed out in the fast lane, Diana’s way, Or lingering upon some hospice bed, (Without the thought of her to visit now). The life of each of us hangs by a thread.


    Ha! I forgot to warn you that I disenjambed her.

  30. Song of the Nymphomaniac
    The After Life
    Crap Literature

    Three poems, and the third one, niftily about melodramas and Victorian noir, has this line:

    “piano-legs dressed up in knicker-frills –“

    Sort of explains the twist in the tail of the first poem (and I reckon the piano just played Chopin’s funeral March) and the cynicism of the second poem, gulling God by breaking all his rules when sharing Death’s orgy in the After Life because God can’t damn you twice. But then I think to myself – that brings us back to the hell’s hell of crap literature. Not this book, though.

  31. Double Act

    This is the recipe for perfect love-making ironically expressed by unsynchronised as well as synchronised enjambment. The perfect synchronicity – like gestalt real-time reviewing – because nothing is perfect unless its hidden imperfections make it SEEM perfect.

  32. Carnal Conversation

    First, a hilariously sarcastic woman’s comment upon an oldish man claiming to get raped. A blade runner’s wit for the second poem. Flensed erection for women who don’t want a man at its other end?

  33. ‘Expense of Spirit’

    “(He told me what he thought I’d meant to say.)”

    Mansplaining prophesied.
    Also a treatment on Shakespeare – mainly about lust.
    A waste of shame, its alternative title.

  34. A Curious Hobby
    The National Health

    From the most outlandish sex images, visions, acts, submissions with which a woman has ever colluded to the cynical health grabbing that the once new NHS elicited.
    Health and sex seem to share a bed. At least obviates latter-day bed-blocking?

  35. Rewind

    “Major and minor prophets rolled and forced Into his porringer of puréed pear.”

    Wot no en)ambment? Yes, but I forgot.

    Two truly remarkable poems. Death like a cassette tape, but what Shakespearean play is ‘sans everything’. Then one about babies fucking books.

  36. Water-Birth
    “The Mickey-Mouse-shaped lilo sprang a leak –
    Too many Mums had chewed on it that week.”

    Placenta Alexander
    “Add chunks of afterbirth and let it cook.”

    Two poems about the poet’s son
    – and about birth and about cooking, its opposite.
    By a new form of the Alexander Method, we reach some liaison with Gaia.
    And creative nonchalance.

  37. Married Bliss

    “I’ll whistle and they’ll come, fetch, carry, beg.
    Of course, I wouldn’t take on one too young.
    I’d certainly prefer him weaned from Mum.”

    I expect some later balance in these poems as they seem very abusive towards men. That abuse would not be allowed against women. These days we have duvets rising up not sheets.
    Chatty poems in the guise of great art, or simply larkin’ about?

  38. Pussy Love
    “My straying days were numbered when you came.
    I saw you as the one to set me free.”

    I hate cats, or other pets. But this is a great poem about a pet cat.

    Bed Time
    Morning After
    Two very pit keenly poems telling about the timing of six, sorry, sex!


    “like kids that Santa gave a plastic flute,”

    Probably the most amazing tract on this subject – ever!


    “Post-coital light-up is what worries me.”

    Compared to troilism.
    A truly remarkable addition to this book’s poetic study of the mores of sex.


    “My hedgehog ceased to come.
    I like to think he found a prickly girlfriend on his beat.”

    And surely there can be no more striking a coda to the previous few poems!

  40. Intro Dive (Eilat, 1992)

    A poem of virgin diving. At first reads like prose enjambed to create verse, but gradually one realises the skill of what is being done here. Cutting off our breath, as it were.

    Remarkable that I read THE STARING MAN here in the due course of my concurrent real-time review here just a few minutes ago. Each work makes the other EVEN more powerful and meaningful when sunk in each other’s context.

  41. Designer Sex
    For Demetrios

    “They lose their shadows, die within the year.”

    A classic poem, dare I suggest, combining considerations of caution in sex and the classics themselves. Dealing with non-penetrative techniques. With a last line to die for. Before you die, that is. Yes, a classic poem. Why is it not more well known?

  42. Orphic Mystery

    “So many versions of his end exist,
    it’s hard to find the truth about his death.”

    Strange there’s much mundane and saucy sex in this book, now we have Monteverdi and other opera and classical things, yet one can imagine they were mundane, too, underneath it all? Or above it all?
    Only poetry can make you truly think things up or down the scale of Aesthetic acceptability.

  43. Deus Ex Machina

    “With every person, as in every age,
    love is experienced differently.”


    “I played at first with men from history,
    but thought a real life partner’d be more fun.”

    Holding hands across the pages of this book, too, poet and reader.
    Like a chess game the man is bound to win?


    This poem, this book –

    ‘“You’re in for a surprise,” you said…’


    A feisty poet brave enough not to be politically correct, and thus this book becomes more strongly politically-poetically correct with oodles of creative incorrectness as a moving or somewhat hilarious path towards a a truth otherwise unreachable. The eclectic Electra of words and enjambment blank not free? Turns of phrase that will stick forever, like lexic games and spurs.

    These poems have lasted me over a year and hopefully will last me for many years more in mind alone. Depends how much longer I have to live. Me AND my mind.


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