The poems in Jean Stevens' latest collection revel in words: the joy of them; the work of finding the ones that say exactly what we mean; our use of them to 'manage the nothingness'. The words we choose for nature are 'vital for living at one with the elements'. A relationship can bow under the strain of 'a lifetime's freight of words said and regretted.'
Words spoken and heard implant themselves for ever: 'To hell with men, let's devote our lives to words', is a fragment of a conversation with Sylvia Plath. Meanwhile words spoken years ago resurface: 'that's not for the likes of you'. These poems are about the lifetime endeavour of 'trying to learn the impossible language'.