* You are viewing the archive for August, 2021

Pia Tafdrup, The Taste of Steel / The Smell of Snow – review

You can read my review of Pia Tafdrup’s The Taste of Steel / The Smell of Snow, translated by David McDuff and published by Bloodaxe Books, by clicking here.

Glyn Maxwell, How the Hell Are You – review

One obvious contrast between Hewitt and Maxwell is in their handling of personal life. However true or fictionalised they actually are, the autobiographical poems in Tongues of Fire seem extremely frank and direct in their revelations. Avowedly personal poems in How the Hell Are You are reserved and oblique, like ‘Daylight Saving’, an elegy for Maxwell’s father. This implies the poet’s continuing feeling of closeness to his dead father by imagining a meeting “in one of the fora / we wander together, / neither one literally here” to discuss the possible abolition of daylight saving. There are rather generically … Continue Reading

Seán Hewitt, Tongues of Fire – review

Tongues of Fire is finely honed in expression, unsettled and unsettling in content. It combines intellectual analysis with extreme sensuous alertness. There are many fine short poems on wild nature, including a series on the mythical Irish outlaw Suibhne. Beyond these, Hewitt uses metaphors both Christian and pagan – sometimes in startling ways – to suggest an almost religious reverence for life’s processes. However, such positive feelings have to maintain themselves against grief, pain and emotional conflict. Several poems deal with Hewitt’s father’s impending death by cancer. Others seem implicitly shadowed by it. Some explicitly present gay love and sexuality, … Continue Reading