Thumbprints (ISBN 978-1-906856-53-3 Helen Overell. Published by Oversteps Books.
Gentle, perceptive, haunting poetry.
Available from Oversteps Books.
Helen Overell has the delicate eye of a painter and a precise ear for the music of a phrase. She is sensitive to the fine nuances of place and situation. As the title of the book suggests, her subject is how we leave our mark as we pass through the world. These are subtle but powerful poems that are passionate and compassionate about who we are and how we live. Tamar Yoseloff.
Helen Overell is a sensitive poet. She never writes the obvious whether she is describing a patch of vegetation on a moor, magpies, a herd of goats in Jordan holding up a minibus or the behaviour of people in a care home. Close observation is expressed in telling and delicate language. The poems in Thumbprints carry an unstated empathy and a deep spirituality. They stay in the mind long after they have been read. Myra Schneider.
There is a gentle haunting in Helen Overell's second collection: Thumbprints (Oversteps 2015.) The collection stayed with me after I finished reading: certain images, a turn of phrase here and there, lingered long enough for me to want to return to the poems. Her poetic skills include the accumulation of sharply observed details, a smoothness of syntax, and a precision in language. Here, in work that takes science and nature for subject matter, are poems that encompass both the corporal and the ethereal: Her opening poem, 'Kaleidoscope', promises the reader a taste of what is to come: a sense of shifting perspectives, always rich in detail, always pleasing to the eye, always leaving the reader wanting to turn the page in order to witness the "marvels [that] burst into being ..." And throughout the collection, poems that examine familiar territory such as illness, aging, the holocaust, grief, do so in a fresh and compassionate light, always ending with a note of hope. Thumbprints was a pleasure to read and I shall read it again and recommend it to others. Maureen Jivani.