This is Liane rehearsing for her performance at Keats House – the cafetière is not yet filled with the double strength coffee we use so the audience can get a hint of the full caffeine jolt of her poems. Her show is set at the breakfast bar: that point in the day when all is potential, be it for delight or disaster.
Jaybird first came across Liane’s work writing a review of her pamphlet for Poetry London magazine …
‘Liane Strauss’ Frankie, Alfredo, reads like an invitation list for a fantasy dinner party. Salome, Byron, Catullus, Archimedes and Lady Macbeth are among the VIPs present in the poems; but their lives or work are serious subjects for the host’s inquisitive and original table-talk. None of these guests are here just to make up the numbers. Reasons to read Strauss are also to be found in her chin-up tone, her fantastic syntactical control and her de luxe subject matter. The next move or the next act of love may be difficult to make, but there’s always something to aim for: ‘the sky is turning / and dark descending dawn dawns and it’s morning’ are the book’s last words. In ‘Boy’ her images – cliffs, birds, pomegranates, lava – progress though an accretion of phrases and parentheses which defer their import to a resolution as satisfying as a thunderous major chord. And when better to consider than in these cash-strapped times her spree of gold couches, champagne, beautiful babies and ‘a fox / dangling from a chair-back / like a provocative suggestion’?’
… and we’ve read her poems with pleasure since. You can read some here and here, on Clive James’ site. He’s a fan, and the poem he’s chosen, It’s Never Too Early For A Clean Slate, is the one which opens Liane’s show.