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What If What's Imagined Were All True
Roz Kaveney
A Midsummer Night's Press, 60 pages

What If What's Imagined Were All True
Roz Kaveney
Roz Kaveney was born in 1949. She is a British writer, critic, and poet, best known for her critical works about pop culture and for being a core member of the Midnight Rose collective. Her works include fiction and non-fiction, poetry, reviewing, and editing.

Roz Kaveney Website
ISFDB Bibliography: Roz Kaveney

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Sandra Scholes

If you, like me, enjoy thumbing through small books of poetry, you will really appreciate this one. It is labelled as poetry but there is something for everyone with science fiction and fantasy, and other poetry that is much broader than imagined. The mere fact it is small enough to fit in your back pocket, or get tucked in your handbag is enough. It means you can read a poem a day on the way to work or to a friend's house. Yet in truth, you will probably want to read all sixty pages in one sitting.

There are four chapters in the book, 1. From the Orpheus Sonnets, 2. What's Imagined, 3. Steam Punk Sonnets, and 4. Watchers Know. For those who have read or studied books of poetry, you might have thought all poetry to be pretty dry reading, but this is more involving if you consider it an interesting take on classical poetry.

Roz Kaveney is a contributor to The Independent, The Guardian and The Times Literary Supplement, and is the author of several books on popular culture. Since working in London, she has worked as a writer and activist of trans issues. She co-founded The Midnight Rose Collective and wrote other anthologies such as Temps, Villains! and The Weerde. She also has her first novel, Rituals, out and has edited Tales from the Forbidden Planet and More Tales of the Forbidden Planet.

Her poems speak for themselves, and are as enjoyable as other poetry I have encountered:


"In such—gryphons and chimeras and weres
could rest and lay aside their savage cares."


This poem shows the array of creatures she features in this book. Each creature knows the thoughts it has, knows how cruel it can be but knows pain more than anything. It tells of Orpheus's descent into the underworld and how much he had to appease the guards stationed at the entrance with his music. While acting on a way for him to escape their wrath, it also meant he had given them some momentary pleasure.


"He travelled with them, Never used any oar
for fear of splinters damaging his hands.
we don't hear he arrived at Colchis' sands,
did what was needed, left, and nothing more."


In this passage of Argonaut, memories of Jason and his men flood his mind, and of the ordeals they underwent to get him all he needed for the voyage back. This is a similar story to Descent in its meaning and emotion.


"to every god he met, pushes his ball
uphill over and over. The bad wives
who killed their husbands wash their bloody knives
in leaky basins. Dreadful sinners all."


Roz Kaveney evokes the thoughts of those who inhabit Tartarus, a section of the Greek underworld where only the worst sinners went to. Here were sent all the murderers and evil doers. You can sense the dark despair of the ones involved, and their punishments.

  Hades Speaks

"I simply am. I don't insult the dead
by suffering the brutal facts. Things end.
I'm there to take them, not to be their friend
Only deluded fools are comforted.

And poets. Orpheus smiled,
strummed, sang aloud.
He'd often done well with a
tougher crowd."


Orpheus feels the hatred of Hades, and his real personality. As the accepter of the dead, he has no feelings for the ones who are brought into his dark and deathly place. He sees them as nothing, and Orpheus is made to look like he has the last laugh at the end of the poem.

These poems are to be savoured and the book kept as it doesn't take up any unnecessary space on a shelf -- it is one for looking back on in months to come, even years and it will be just as exciting.

Copyright © 2013 Sandra Scholes

Sandra Scholes can't wait to get over the awful winter weather and go back to a more autumnal setting -- other than that she works for The British Fantasy Society, Fantasy Book Review and Love Romance Passion respectively.

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