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Threa Almontaser, The Wild Fox of Yemen – review

The approach of Threa Almontaser’s The Wild Fox of Yemen is quite different [to that of Maurice Riordan’s Shoulder Tap]. Though she’s uneven, some readers will prefer her vivid self-dramatisations and linguistic excitement to Riordan’s polished reserve. Her book explores the difficulties of living between two cultures as an American woman of Yemeni heritage, especially after the Twin Towers attack. Sometimes its protagonist feels excluded by America and reacts defiantly, aggressively asserting her Yemeni identity, as when she says

I quit being cautious in third grade
when the towers fell &, later, wore

the city’s hatred as hijab’.

Sometimes, … Continue Reading

Maurice Riordan, Shoulder Tap – review

Maurice Riordan’s subtly wrought Shoulder Tap draws beauty and wide imaginative reach as much from what it doesn’t say as from what it does. Its very quietness makes faint inflections and shifts of tone seem rich with implication. And a tendency to self-effacement, even when ostensibly talking about himself, seems to reflect the poet’s imaginative receptiveness. His ‘I’ becomes a medium of perception rather than a centre of attention, fading into things he sees or remembers. These things may be concrete experiences, or hauntings by other writers or singers. Such hauntings are sometimes explicit and extended, like a fine translation … Continue Reading

Tim Dooley, Notes on The Waste Land

This long poem inspired by Eliot’s The Waste Land is beautifully illustrated with paintings by Jock Mcfadyen. You can read my review of it by clicking here.


Tim Dooley, Notes on The Waste Land, with paintings by Jock Mcfadyen and notes by Chris McCabe, published by Hercules Editions, https://www.herculeseditions.com/  48pp, £10