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C K Stead, This Side of Silence – review

The pleasures of This Side of Silence are largely opposite to those of Earth House. With some twenty-five volumes of poetry behind him, the nonagenarian C K Stead expends considerable skill in the effort not to sound poetic while giving his words maximum sharpness and punch. Poem after poem achieves remarkable success in this way. For example, ‘Ode to Autumn’ brilliantly compresses a shimmering of dry wit, vivid metaphorical description and complex emotion into a piece of apparently casual, almost slangy speech. It begins

This day’s officially the first of autumn
but it seems not to know.
The sun’s all … Continue Reading

Matthew Hollis, Earth House – review

Most of my poetry reading involves concentrated focusing on short poems or passages. Much of Earth House demands reading of a different kind. It asks readers to open themselves to a flow of verbal music and of images and ideas that are sometimes concrete and sharp, sometimes blurrily evocative, letting emotional and intellectual suggestions accumulate at their own pace. The result is beautiful, often moving and in many ways elusive, becoming frustrating if you try to focus it too definitely. Absorbing it requires a kind of receptive passivity, like the calling from the thicket in ‘Hedge Bird’, of which Hollis … Continue Reading

Fleur Adcock, Collected Poems – review


You can read my review of this sumptuous Collected Poems by clicking on this link to the London Grip:

London Grip Poetry Review – Fleur Adcock