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DINAH LIVINGSTONE
Extracts from some Reviews

Of The Vision Splendid (poetry):-

'One of the most remarkable things in this fine, ambitious collection is Livingstone's ability to locate both the here and now and the visionary in a single arc of movement.'
click for complete review --Glyn Pursglove in Acumen

'Her new book is a celebration of London and Londoners, from its radical past to the multicultural present... The climax of the book is in two long utopian celebrations of London' s contribution to the Good Old Cause, 'No Mean City' and the extraordinary 'Epic'. -- Andy Croft in the Morning Star

'Dinah wears her learning lightly and makes connections between the ancient world and today with wit and simplicity... Dinah is a London Crier, ringing her bell of warning, ringing her bell of exultation... Kindness, work, love, these are the things that matter to her, matter to us all.'-- Jehane Markham in Camden New Journal

'Her eye is exact and her ear faultless... Livingstone's language is so conversational that one might just not notice her formal skill. [In 'Common'] each sonnet has a volta from the ninth line onwards, and the alternating poems stick strictly to a pattern of four stresses followed by a three stress line. Livingstone's plain surfaces are deceptive, concealing a lifetime of craftsmanship and a longing for the City on the Hill:

this metaphor, utopia, state of grace
urges change required, the transformation
of unjust structures all that they deface. ' -- James Sutherland-Smith in The Bow-wow Shop

'One of the many functions of poetry is to remind usof how human we are, of how hungry we are for experience and of how thirsty we are for transcendence. Insofar as poetry is art, its principal function is to give delight. On all of the above this modest books of poems scores highly. ' -- Frank Regan in Renew

'This honest and heartfelt collection' -- Thomas Ovans in London Grip

Of Poems of Hampstead Heath and Regent's Park (poetry):

'Dinah Livingstone's beautiful new collection Poems of Hampstead Heath and Regent's Park is a hymn to London's green public spaces ... a calendar cycle, following the seasons in two of London's most famous parks.' -- Morning Star

'The music of the flawlessly plain language and the luminosity of the vision are unmissable... These thirty-four linked poems come together purposefully, but also, you feel, ingenuously, such is the writer's gift for direct, persuasive language and delightful "showing". ' -- Artemis

Of Poetic Tales (prose):

'The first chapter is a very fine discusssion of "the necessity of poetry". It pithily sums up one of the crucial ideas behind poetry thus, "Knowledge how to becomes art." ... this wonderful essay on poetry...' -- Acumen

'In her new book Poetic Tales, Livingstone takes us on a fascinating journey exploring the human imagination which has created 'the whole supernatural realm of God or gods, angels and demons.' -- Morning Star:

'his book seems to me to offer a way ahead for Christians who find it difficult to take the churches seriously... [it] will give encouragement to all reformers, renewalists and innovators, to all who care for the credibility of the gospel.' -- Renew

'It is not difficult to read and has much richness to offer.' -- Anne Ashworth in Sofia:.

Dinah Livingstone may be a 'non-believer' but she has a theologian's depth of knowledge of the bible and the early church. For her, poetry and theology are related disciplines and she tackles both with a toughness that is anything but vague or whimsical.' -- Colin Davies, amazon.co.uk online review

Of Kindness (poetry):

'The language is direct, unselfconscious and colloquial but under its apparent artlessness lies work of considerable intelligence and subtlety... Livingstone wears her learning very lightly, but it is not inconsiderable...In an age of alienation, Livingstone writes a poetry of belonging and hope, shot through with intelligence and moral force. For this reader, at least, it is both full of wonder and wonderful.' -- Tears in the Fence:

'Livingstone's poetry is confident and fresh, confiding and celebratory, questioning and consoling. Her great experience as a writer is one element, no doubt, in the apparent complete spontaneity of many of these poems... This latest book of many includes some of Livingstone's most exciting and successful work.' -- Artemis

Of Presence (poetry):

'A collection which takes on the challenge of existence in this way cannot fail to earn respect... Livingstone has been writing thoughtful and distinctive poetry for a number of years. This book should delight her existing readers and be a revelation to new ones.' -- Acumen: (click for full review)

'Not only is she an excellent wordsmith but her poetry resonates beyond the merely personal to comment on the wider social and political issues of our time... but she uses a crow's wing rather than a sledgehammer to make her point... Presence is a small volume with a big heart, which I hope will be heard, treasured and reread.' -- Morning Star

'The more one reads and studies these poems, the more they become so right, so familiar and recognisable, like music heard long ago, that our sense of knowing them already shocks.' Iota

'A delightfully, deftly crafted celebration of her life-long passions, poetry and radical politics.' -- SOF

Livingstone's gift for capturing the instantaneous complex of emotion and thought in the smallest of circumstances...'-- New Hope International: (click for review online)

'Her finest collection to date' -- Orbis:

'Presence is in design and execution a book that seeks to express the value of living thoughtfully, of cherishing the many tiny threads of being and kindred hopes that span the gulfs separating individuals and cultures.'-- New British Poetry: (click for review online)

'Livingstone is an original and eternally fresh voice on the contemporary poetry scene...greatly perceptive and sharply humorous on occasion.' -- SLN

Of Time on Earth: Selected and New Poems:

'Dinah Livingstone's passion, intellectuality and lightly worn erudition fire a plain speech. With the equipment of an aesthete but a politically compassionate heart, she's been "committed"... There's every sort of poem here, including good love poems, and they record a lifelong search... Her senses are too much alive for her not to be a nature poet as well, though the nature may be in Camden Town and will resonate with much more than nature.' -- Ambit

'The poems are the delicious and bitter fruits of observation, selected from eleven publications spread across thirty-three years, the work of an authentic poet... Time on Earth contains very many remarkable and memorable images. It is a reminder of things it is important for us to remember.' -- Acumen

'Dinah Livingstone's poetry speaks persistently and openly of the struggle for the heart's hope of utopia in a language at once celebratory and defiant. The characteristic generosity of spirit that runs through the book moves against the tide.' -- Red Pepper

'What I like about Livingstone is her honesty.' -- Envoi

'These are poems rooted in particular places, Camden Town, Devon, Suffolk, Greenham Common. Domestic life in Camden Town is interspersed with political events in England, Chile, Nicaragua. Livingstone's children appear throughout, from babies to young adults... Elements of a radicalised Christian spirituality are combined with non-partisan leftist politics and feminism in ways which are currently unfashionable in the polite world of literature... Livingstone is a principled and independent voice well worth listening to.' -- Ethical Record

'The writer's interest in words and sounds (she is also a translator) appear everywhere.' -- Iota

'Dinah Livingstone's readings in London have long been a green oasis of passionate and often humorous poetry on a poetry scene that can be arid. But it is another satisfaction to enjoy the full span of her original achievement in this generous, well-presented Selection -- also to realise that her hand has not lost its cunning but gained some more in recent work.' -- SLN

'Livingstone is a true poet.' -- Poetry London:

'An impressive collection, and Dinah Livingstone's best lines are outstandingly lyrical and evocative.' -- New Humanist

Of The Poetry of Earth (prose):

'Refreshing to see some home truths written without pussyfooting or punch-pulling' -- Envoi: '

'In many ways an entrancing book with a big heart' -- SOF

'The book as a whole is a courageous undertaking. Above all it is inspiring, and lifts the reader far above the weary trivialities of much contemporary literary discussion.' -- Pennine Platform

'Although she makes use of her own experience as examples, Dinah Livingstone's essays are the polar opposite of self-absorbed... Referring to the literature of current struggles around the globe -- often not against oppression but obliteration -- this concoction succeeds in creating overall a feel for our perilous present.' -- PQR

'A meandering journey through the author's sharp mind.' -- Camden New Journal

Of May Day (poetry):

'In this book political and personal gain strength from each other. . . This is the poetry of the world we live in, ordinary lives nonetheless graceful, knowing and strong. . . Bravo.' -- Other Poetry

'Poetry of exact and visionary observation … much to admire and learn from' -- Acumen

Of Second Sight (poetry):

"Clearer with second sight" is how Dinah Livingstone perceives a London rowan after seeing one growing on Exmoor... "Rowan Tree" is a vivid, dynamic poem, growing in the memory like the tree.' -- Lines

'I highly recommend these poems. Dinah Livingstone serves a vital cause at this time. She gives much to the many who live on the edge of cynicism and despair, the chance of hope, a "second sight" in our lives.' -- Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism!

'A polished set of poems about London as a home town. There are some very strong pieces and the book ends with a series of poems that celebrate London's revolutionary past.' -- Scratch

'A very good eye... a book of some integrity and interest.' -- Stand

Some reviews up to Keeping Heart (poetry):

'Vitality and distinctiveness of Livingstone's poetry... lively blend of sensuality and intellect illuminates the reader's states as well as her own.' -- Times Literary Supplement

'I have enjoyed hearing and reading her wordplay, her musicality, wit and subversions… quirkiness and fresh air blowing in from her many translations.' -- Acumen

'The feel of London much to the forefront, the poems making an arresting impression... a quiet humanism at the foundation of the work that is cumulatively far more convincing than any sermon.' -- Ethical Record

'Though she has experienced bumping into a wall or two, she has learnt that poetry is getting up and trying to jump over, not lying on the ground moaning.' -- Morning Star

'Unostentatious erudition... pleasingly direct' -- Stand

'Such generously empathic poems... my favourite remains "Law and Order" which manages to be both hilarious and menacing and still remains the strongest indictment of strong-arm government with its Thatcher-voiced refrain.' -- Camden New Journal

'Powerful pleasure she takes in rolling words over her tongue, a feast' -- City Limits

'Good mixture of the political and the personal... a solid collection... a consistency that is admirable' -- Ambit

'Memorable evocations of London' -- Spokes

'This poet has the strength of spirit to speak the unspeakable about our alienation without despairing and rejoice in our potential and collective power without being sentimental.' -- Spare Rib

'What is common to each of these themes is her incisive irony supported by an ability to transfer phrases from their normal context and rejuvenate their meaning ... simultaneously she has developed the expressive technique of juxtaposing luxuriant symbolism or surrealism with clear, intellectual abstractions.' -- Times Educational Supplement

'Considerable wit, passion but most of all courage' -- John Heath Stubbs in Frontier

'Honesty and the spark of real joy which are the true heart of her work' -- Stand

'Such an original and accomplished poet' -- Times Literary Supplement

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