This book follows Michael Brennan’s brilliant début collection, The Imageless World (2003). I do not make this connection lightly; Unanimous Night shares almost everything with its predecessor: themes, methods and tone of voice. They even share the same structure: groups of shorter poems (‘Letters Home’) are punctuated by some tightly organised extended sequences.
Three of these sequences are connected with works of art in one way or another. The first of them, ‘Sky Was Sky’, is overtly about loss, being centred around the suicide of the poet’s elder brother. But engaging a theme is not the same as being straightforward, and the first line of the opening poem of ‘Sky Was Sky’ – ‘I woke up but it was a dream’ – is decidedly equivocal. The following poems in this sequence are dream-images related to the absent brother. Though the style is abrupt and denotative, they do (like many other poems in this book) remind the reader of just how powerful a generator of images absence and loss are.