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Auditory Imagination in Yeats’ ‘The Wild Swans at Coole’ (stanza 1).

‘The Wild Swans at Coole’ begins

The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty swans.

I’ve loved it since school days, when I used to carry Norman Jeffares’ Selected Poetry by Yeats around with me and read it repeatedly. I can’t remember just what I liked about this particular poem then but my feeling for it now crystallises around the beauty of its sound, especially in this first stanza, and around the strange way some of its words and phrases seem to … Continue Reading

Gerard Woodward, The Vulture – review

The poems of The Vulture don’t make small adjustments to our perception of the world, like those in Hannah Lowe’s The Kids, they present it in radically strange and dislocated terms. Sometimes this happens with startling abruptness. For example, ‘The Fish Head’ opens “I found a fish head / With the face of Elizabeth the First”.  Sometimes the machinery of estrangement revolves in a more gradual way and sometimes (as in ‘The Fish Head’ itself) what opens in the one way may go on to develop in the other.

Such a kicking loose from common perceptions offers the excitement of … Continue Reading