A Velvet Increase of Curiosity


76 pages
ISBN 1-55022-199-X
DDC C811'.54






Reviewed by Beryl Baigent

Beryl Baigent is a poet; her published collections include Absorbing the
Dark, Hiraeth: In Search of Celtic Origins, Triptych: Virgins, Victims,
Votives, and Mystic Animals.


The poems in this volume are self-reflective: poems about themselves,
about poetry, about writing. “Cloudburst” is a metaphor for
“formless to lack of form” in poetry. “Not Hear ... Yet”
describes the desire to break away from conventional speech: “long
words trickling a flood of rhetoric / a dry vivid dusty and static /
clinging to a network / vocabulary.” In “Articulation,” the poet
speaks of “an habitual hoax” and one wonders if this is her entire

Downe appears to be reiterating the statement that there is nothing new
under the sun but, as far as she is concerned, the poet can rediscover
language and create new meaning by fragmentation and by grouping words
in new ways. Other poets have successfully presented this enigma (e.e.
cummings for one), and if readers enjoy putting together the jigsaw
pieces or solving the mysteries of syntax, then Downe’s book will
offer that challenge.


Downe, Lise., “A Velvet Increase of Curiosity,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 22, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/6461.