Peter Kenneally reviews 'These Things Are Real' by Alan Wearne

Alan Wearne’s work over the past thirty years or so – dense, demanding, unique, rewarding – is like the oeuvre of a cinematic auteur: one that never quite got onto the syllabus, or brought out the crowds at Cinémathèque. Technique above all, most of the time, but allied with real if unfamiliar emotion, even if the narrative needed the reader to have the right stuff in the first place before it unfolded itself.

More recently, the scope has lessened, the rhyme schemes become less ornate, the characters more constrained. One wouldn’t have noticed in his previous book, Prepare The Cabin For Landing (2012), with its overt Juvenalian satire woven through the personal narratives. But in These Things Are Real the two things have largely separated. The verse narratives in the first half of the book are more sanguine than we are used to from Wearne, with the antiqueness of the scenarios a kind of enabling constraint rather than a period set.

Read the rest of this article by purchasing a subscription to ABR Online, or subscribe to the print edition to receive access to ABR Online free of charge.

If you are a single issue subscriber you will need to upgrade your subscription to view back issues.

If you are already subscribed, click here to log in.

Published in December 2017, no. 397

Leave a comment

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.