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John Greening, Vapour Trails – review

In his introduction to Vapour Trails Greening writes, ‘A half-decent poetry review should be readable well beyond its original publication date and entertain you whether or not you are interested in the book (or even the genre); it must give you some idea, pretty economically, what the poet’s collection is like; and it should offer you a way in to the work, suggesting with greater or lesser subtlety whether it’s worth your time.’

So what makes these reviews still worth our time? Partly it’s the sweep and penetration of Greening’s judgements, partly the sheer pleasure of his language.

Making clear distinctions is … Continue Reading

Michael Longley, The Candlelight Master – review

One of the pleasures of this book is the way it gives us more of what Longley has been giving for so long: more orchids and otters, splinter-moments of Homeric epic, addresses to fellow artists, old friends and family members. For readers familiar with his work, any of Longley’s books, almost, indeed, any of his poems, will seem to reach out into many others. He’s a poet of individually mostly short, sometimes tiny pieces, but the way one leads into another gives his writing a paradoxical amplitude and reach. And however much he revisits the same preoccupations, he’s never simply … Continue Reading