In her first collection, Forty Names, Fayyaz names these women over and over again and often women from her family, whose stories she grew up being told even if, at the time, she didn’t fully understand them. Names are echoed, written first in Persian and then translated into English – an act which revels in the ‘emotional and imaginative’ aspects of translation, as Fayyaz discusses in a Youtube video for Carcanet. The effect is such that the names become almost internalised mini-poems in and of themselves…
Sheri Benning’s Field Requiem is crosshatched with both Biblical and grid references. In the terrifying enormity of the Canadian prairies, which this collection both hymns and mourns, the reader may manage to avoid locating the exact locations (and some may, in any case be fictionalised, wisely), but the layer of the religious aspects cannot be skimmed. The New Testament reference above takes the reader to The Parable of the Minas, which is perhaps less self-evident in its truths than some others.
Victoria Kennefick’s latest collection, Eat Or We Both Starve, is a considered and powerful meditation on what it means to hunger and, subsequently, to consume. Kennefick weaves historical figures, literary references and personal memories into her work in a painstaking attempt to examine hunger in its myriad forms – be it physical, sexual, relational or spiritual. At times, the poems are so interconnected in theme that the entire collection feels concentrated into one sharp burst of writing. Yet it is clear that Kennefick’s process has been refined and reoriented, as many of the poems contain a wisdom and strength – the voice of an embodied womanhood.
Ezra Pound suggested that poets ‘go in fear of abstractions’, and his advice continues to hold much weight. Like any principle of course, not only will excellent exceptions keep occurring, but it deserves to be held to account. Pound would have expected no less. In her second full collection Tripping Over Clouds, Lucy Burnett does exactly that, and ‘underpinning this is a re-imagining of abstraction as a prior state of possibility and potential from which the world and ourselves are constantly re-emerging – as abstraction to, not from.’
This little book addresses big themes. It is a serious but engaging essay which invites reflection on loss and the ways we respond to it, individually and collectively, and how these have changed culturally over time. Josipovici tightly structures twelve short sections, each focussing on an aspect of forgetting and its counterpart remembering, weaving them Read More
In this latest collection of poems, David Morley, prize-winning poet and Professor of Creative Writing at Warwick University, puts his versatile lyrical toolkit on display. Sustaining his interest in the Romany gypsy community, its mythology and folklore—subjects of his previous Poetry Book Society Recommendation and Choice books, The Invisible Kings and The Gypsy and the Read More
‘I cannot live, just fucking let me die.’ Whether intentionally or not, James Womack’s translation, if we can call it that, of Maximian’s Elegies comes at a rather appropriate time. A global pandemic ravaging the world with seemingly no end in sight, ecological and societal collapse perhaps just a few decades around the corner, we Read More
Theophilus Kwek is a prolific writer with five collections to his credit. His latest, Moving House, articulates a preoccupation with the themes of migration, belonging, colonial history, and the turbulent politics of the present. Kwek is uniquely qualified to tackle these themes. He grew up in Singapore, graduated with a degree in history and politics, and Read More
Errant is a fascinating collection that delves into the poet’s past experiences, with influences from other writings and encounters with other creative minds. Gabriel Levin’s sixth collection doesn’t fail to uncover, intrigue and take the reader through a myriad of places journeying between the poet’s homelands in the West and the Middle East. Levin who Read More
Sextus Propertius (ca. 50 BCE – 15 BCE) may not be the most famous Roman poet of the Augustan age, but possibly unjustly so. Patrick Worsnip has now translated Propertius’ elegiac poems for the modern reader, reinterpreting the 2007 Oxford Classical Text as swift, easy-to-read verse poetry. No prior knowledge of Latin literature is Read More