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 b More
When W.H. Auden took the cue for his poem ‘Musée des Beaux Arts’ from Brueghel’s Fall of Icarus, he did not presume the reader’s knowledge of the iconography of the More
Thea Astley had a way with words. Her novels are studded with arresting metaphors, atrocious puns, hilarious one-liners, arcane words, technical terms from music, geometry and logic, relig More
Bold shades of autumn leaf – or blazing embers’ light,
bright to extinguished, as if fires set
in hearths huddled closely in the dirt were offset
by pallid oceans with their artificial light.
Having comprehensively disposed of that chestnut,
shoved it on a skip,
I have more questions to put to you than the Socratic
in our grocer.
First, I want you to step out of those non sequiturs, com More
Two recent collections by two very different voices have both been ‘blurbed’ as works of fragmentation. In her début collection, Cassie Lewis is described as speaking for ‘a generation whose ambitions and emotions have become very fractured and fragmented’. Eddie Paterson’s new book is full of redacted texts of digital trash and treasure; it is a blacked- ... More
Paul Muldoon’s friend and mentor, the late Seamus Heaney, once remarked that reading Muldoon was like being in a room with two informants: one a compulsive liar and one who always tells the truth. The trick, Heaney suggested, is ‘trying to formulate a question that will elicit an answer from either one that can be reliably decoded’.
Muldoon’s poems a ... More
Ian Dickson reviews 'Robert Lowell: Setting the river on fire: A study of genius, mania and character' by Kay Redfield Jamison
For no one were Dryden’s partitions thinner than for Robert Lowell, as Kay Redfield Jamison’s exploration of the links between his work and the manic depressive illness which dogged hi More
After Stephen Edgar’s nine collections of poetry, the last seven of which are distinguished by an extraordinary control over metre and rhyme, a reviewer feels bound to ask how this new b More
Antigone Kefala’s Fragments, her fifth book of poems and first since Absence: New and selected poems (1992), is often menaced by the past, like her first collection, The Alien (1973). Here too are some subtly demolishing portraits, as well as buoyant poems such as ‘Metro Cellist’ and the slightly brooding ‘Summer at Derveni’: ‘ ... More