‘Morning in the Burned House’ by Margaret Atwood Reviewed

This collection by Atwood explores the view of femininity and female experience. Like her famous novel ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ there’s a real sense of anger, offset by a directness and black humour. It is divided into a number of stages. It opens with a draining sense of ennui, illustrated in phrases such as “the centuryContinue reading “‘Morning in the Burned House’ by Margaret Atwood Reviewed”

Wintering by Katherine May Reviewed

This book is a study of one woman’s management of her depression. Covering October to March, it’s a meditation on life that examines how we can anchor ourselves in the natural world to cope with the demands of modern society. May sets out her manifesto in the prologue: “Everyone winters at one time or another;Continue reading “Wintering by Katherine May Reviewed”

The Art of Falling, Kim Moore

It’s not very often I feel compelled to buy a book at a reading (mostly because I’m trying to cut down on the amount of books I own, not because the poets are shite) but I knew I had to own this one as soon as Moore finished reading her first poem. It’s a collectionContinue reading “The Art of Falling, Kim Moore”

Lifeboat Press Pamphlets

Kevin Breathnach Morphing Firstly, the aesthetics. These pamphlets are things of beauty – the font, cover design, colour palette – even the weight of the paper is satisfying. Published in 2020, Morphing is Breathnach’s debut pamphlet. The opening poem ‘A Letter from a Number’ is unsettling in its playful use of language, dominated by phrasesContinue reading “Lifeboat Press Pamphlets”

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”

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