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John Glenday, Selected Poems – review

John  Glenday’s Selected Poems adds nine pieces to a selection of work from his five previous books. It’s a small output for the time he’s been writing but a very fine one.

The main features of his work have been clear from the beginning: avoidance of rhetoric, meticulous craftsmanship, love of balanced forms, and skill in combining musical qualities with a conversational style. These features are integrally related to the way the ‘I’ of the poems seems to think and feel. His voice is quiet and measured, though what he says can be startling or disturbing. Even when directly addressing the … Continue Reading

John Glenday, The Golden Mean – review

John Glenday’s lyrics seem to have been wrought with a deliberate avoidance of panache. The book’s first stanza is typical in the sense it gives of finding its way between possible misstatements, like a blindfolded tightrope walker’s feet feeling for the rope:

 If you must carry fire, carry it in
your heart – somewhere sheltered but hidden,
polished by hands that once loved it.

Writing like that embodies a process of careful advance and withdrawal in which every step takes its meaning by being a development or qualification of the steps taken before it.

Admittedly it’s easy to find lines and phrases that … Continue Reading