* You are viewing the archive for September, 2017

Review – The Occupant by Jane Draycott

The Occupant by Jane Draycott. Carcanet Press, 64 pp. £9.99

These quietly beautiful, profoundly unsettling poems neither present puzzles nor tell you what to think; they ask you to dwell on them and in them imaginatively, letting their resonances and suggestions accumulate in your mind. This is made a pleasure by their formal grace. Phrase by phrase, they make clear, vivid, evocative statements, but as wholes they resist resolving into settled impressions or rounding off into paraphrasable conclusions. Each is charged with hidden depths, elliptical connections and startling changes of tack. They take you on long journeys in a few words. … Continue Reading

Review – James Sheard’s The Abandoned Settlements

James Sheard, The Abandoned Settlements, 64 pp, £9.99, Jonathan Cape

Sheard’s intense lyrical subjectivity contrasts with both Longley and Clifton. Most of the poems in The Abandoned Settlements involve the ending of a relationship. Many are haunted by other losses, personal or cultural. In some the break-up of the relationship is central; in others, like the fine title poem, there’s a wider focus and a looser weave of analogies between different scenes of physical dereliction and different places where lost love is remembered. This is one of many poems that display Sheard’s gifts in the orchestration of sound and rhythm, … Continue Reading

Review – Michael Longley’s Angel Hill

Michael Longley, Angel Hill, 80 pp, £10.00, Jonathan Cape, 20 Vauxhall Bridge Rd, London SW1V 2SA

From the first words of Angel Hill you know you’re in the hands of a master. Joyfully rehearsing old themes and landscapes, Longley brings an ever-finer touch to their expression. The opening poem, addressed to Fleur Adcock, is typical: yet another celebration of an old friendship, yet another celebration of an artist, yet another poem about wild flowers and birds, it’s also completely fresh and alive in itself. Like all these poems, it’s humane and profoundly civilised, remarkable for its ability to hold in balance … Continue Reading