Jacob Polley, Jackself

Winner of the TS Eliot award in 2016, this is Polley’s fourth collection. It’s unsettling from the opening poem ‘The House that Jack Built’, a poem that focuses on destruction. We see time pass through the lifespan of timber – despite how much manipulation humans exert on the wood, it lasts. It’s unnerving to beContinue reading “Jacob Polley, Jackself”

Leontia Flynn, The Radio

The collection opens with a sequence of poems that explore the fragility of the mind. The second poem ‘Alzheimer’s Villanelle’ is an astonishing piece of work. The choice of form is fantastic – the echoes mimic the confusion of the mind and some of the visual descriptions are incredibly visceral, creating a very unsettling feel.Continue reading “Leontia Flynn, The Radio”

Sharon Olds, Stag’s Leap

Published in 2012 and winner of the T.S. Eliot prize and the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, Stag’s Leap charts the poet’s journey through the end of a thirty year marriage. Poignant, passionate and unrelentingly personal, it’s an astonishing collection. The collection follows a chronological order as Olds takes us through the breakdown of her marriageContinue reading “Sharon Olds, Stag’s Leap”

Seán Hewitt: Tongues of Fire

Published by Cape in 2020, Tongues of Fire is Hewitt’s first full collection after the remarkable ‘Lantern’, a pamphlet published by Offord Road Press. It’s difficult to write about this collection without a heavy reliance on superlatives. It’s a wondrous book, full of hope and beauty. There’s a lot of darkness too – grief weighsContinue reading “Seán Hewitt: Tongues of Fire”

Penguin Modern Poets 6

The sixth edition of this series is a pantheon of contemporary female poets. The book opens with Claudia Rankine. Through her poems we accompany a series of women as they navigate racism, the strange intimacy of pregnancy and the difficulties facing women who choose to step from the expected path of motherhood. The poems hereContinue reading “Penguin Modern Poets 6”

‘Better than God: Peter Porter

This was the last collection Porter published before his death – which means it’s no surprise that mortality is very much at the forefront. However, it’s not a maudlin collection – there’s enough humour here to give balance to the levity of the subject matter. The short opening poem ‘Better than God’ opens the collectionContinue reading “‘Better than God: Peter Porter”

Citadel: Martha Sprackland

The thing that really stood out in Sprackland’s debut was the sense of cohesion. The first poem ‘Poached Eggs on Toast’ creates images and motifs that are carried through the collection – eggs and yolks appear in many poems. The second and third poems form a mini sequence exploring Sprackland’s memory of being hit onContinue reading “Citadel: Martha Sprackland”

Handiwork: Sara Baume

Everything about this book is satisfying – the size (pleasingly pocket-sized), the texture (heavy-grade, slightly rough paper) and of course the contents. It’s a beautifully wrought insight into the mind of an artist who explores her craft, her inspiration, her influences and the world around her in little sequences. Many of these sequences read likeContinue reading “Handiwork: Sara Baume”

Róisín Kelly: Mercy

There’s a mythical, dream-like quality to this collection, filled with motifs of stars and apples. It’s also rooted in place – there’s a sense of journey as we move with the speaker across Portugal, Greece and Ireland in a voyage of self-discovery as they look to move beyond failed relationships and find their own rootsContinue reading “Róisín Kelly: Mercy”

A Man’s House Catches Fire – Review

Tom Sastry’s debut collection thrusts the reader into a world wrapped in deadpan metaphors. The opening poem ‘A Man’s House Catches Fire’ sets the tone as self-deprecating from the outset with the lines: “I thought the smell of smoke was just me going off my head which I have learned to expect.” The poem endsContinue reading “A Man’s House Catches Fire – Review”

Wood Bee Poet

Poems, thoughts...etc.

The Pledge

Fired! Irish Women Poets and the Canon

Nicola Heaney

Writer & Poet

Freefall

'She would say to discover / the true depth of a well, / drop a stone, / start counting.' - Andrew Greig