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Review – Harry Clifton, Portobello Sonnets

Harry Clifton, Portobello Sonnets, 48 pp, £9.95, Bloodaxe Books

Even skilful sonnets can make the heart sink when the poet’s use of a fixed form seems to suppress any sense of natural speech rhythms or spontaneous thought. In Portobello Sonnets, though, it’s as if spontaneously evolving thought and speech are discovering form as they go. Freed from set rhyming structures, they give the impression of soaring freely whilst actually riding currents of formal expectation in a creatively selective way.

All are set within the Portobello district of Dublin, often among specific, named streets and buildings. Clifton wrote them as a returnee to … Continue Reading