These new poems by Martha Kapos represent an act of reclamation or capture: an attempt to retrieve someone whose loss has been experienced through illness and finally death. Taking as an epigraph a line from Richard Wilbur ' - a thing is most itself when likened' Kapos discovers various viewpoints from which to try to see the thing 'being most itself'. Most often the viewpoints are visual ones - making use of the phemen of perspective with its effects of hiddenness, distance or diminution. In every case metaphor is the guiding principle in these poems, which address how a figure is brought back to life through a process whose essence is poetic. The Likeness is a sustained elegy, an unfolding study in psychology and visual observation, and an example of the animating power of metaphor to reshape loss into presence.
Martha Kapos is an American poet transplanted in London. Her background was in the visual arts: training as a painter at the Chelsea School of Art, and subsequently teaching there in the History of Art Department until her retirement in 2000. Since then she has been Assistant Poetry Editor at Poetry London. My Nights in Cupid's Palace (Enitharmon, 2003) was a PBS Special Commendation and won the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, and her second, Supreme Being (Enitharmon, 2008), was a PBS Recommendation.