Reviews
Ian Pople

Kimiko Hahn | Foreign Bodies | reviewed by Ian Pople

Kimiko Hahn | Foreign Bodies | W.W.Norton: $26.95. There is a strong, driving sense of personal narrative in the poems in Kimiko Hahn’s tenth collection, Foreign Bodies.  It feels clear that the ‘I’ in the poems is the writer, herself.  This is a first person who is almost fiercely committed to the narratives that create the […]

Read More 0 Comments
Livi Michael

Nicholas Royle | White Spines, Confessions of a Book Collector | reviewed by Livi Michael

Nicholas Royle, White Spines, Confessions of a Book Collector, Salt Publishing; £9.99 What I anticipated, on hearing about this book, was something similar to Francis Spufford’s The Child that Books Built, a kind of bildungsroman about the psychology of reading. I was wrong. This unusual volume is more of a literary travelogue for readers, writers, […]

Read More 0 Comments
David Cooke

Dorothy Molloy, The Poems of Dorothy Molloy reviewed by David Cooke

The Poems of Dorothy Molloy. Faber & Faber:  £10.99.   Born in 1942, Dorothy Molloy starting writing poetry relatively late in her life and it is a sad irony that, having been accepted by Faber and Faber, her first collection, Hare Soup, had just been delivered by the printers in the week that she died of […]

Read More 0 Comments
David Cooke

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Collected Poems, reviewed by David Cooke

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin: Collected Poems. €20.00 (Pb) The Gallery Press.   The publication of Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin’s Collected Poems, encompassing some half a century’s work, is a welcome opportunity to appreciate the full extent of her achievement and leaves one in little doubt that her poetry, by virtue of its emotional depth and imaginative élan, […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Sarah Westcott, Bloom, reviewed by Ken Evans

Sarah Westcott, Bloom, Pavilion Press, University of Liverpool: (£9.99) In her second collection – what the poet refers to as the ‘sister’ to her first, called Slant Light – Westcott sets out her intention from the first line of the opening poem: ‘Have you looked, Have you looked deeply – the feeling, the feeling is […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Nina Simone’s Gum by Warren Ellis: Interviewed by Sarah Walters and reviewed by Alienor Bombarde

Nina Simone’s Gum, by Warren Ellis Interview by Sarah Walters Organised by David Coates, at Manchester’s Blackwells. Following the publication of his memoir Nina Simone’s Chewing Gumthe Australian musician and member of the rock groups Dirty Three and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Warren Ellis, visited Manchester’s Blackwells. There, he discussed his inspiration, and memories with Sarah […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Eduardo C. Corral | Guillotine | reviewed by Ian Pople

Eduardo C. Corral | Guillotine | Graywolf Press: $16.00 There is a sharp, tangy sense about Eduardo C. Corral’s poems.  Sometimes that tang is almost literal; these poems are never shy about talking about the senses at their most acute.  But that tangy quality is part of the Corral’s style, too.  The poems are often organised in […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Jane Hirshfield | Ledger | reviewed by Ian Pople

Jane Hirshfield | Ledger | Bloodaxe: £10.99 There is a quiet quality to much of Jane Hirshfield’s poetry which sits between the zen-like and the vatic.  Hirshfield is not afraid to flirt with rhetoric, but manages to contextualise it with a neatly drawn reality. Ledger is Hirshfield’s sixth Bloodaxe volume in the UK and begins with a […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Carolyn Forché | In the Lateness of the World | reviewed by Ian Pople

Carolyn Forché | In the Lateness of the World | Bloodaxe Books: £10.99 The blurb to Carolyn Forché’s first full collection for seventeen years suggests that the poems are ‘meditative’. That’s one way to describe them but it might not be the best.  The fact that many of these poems are narratives either in the first person […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Amy Woolard | Neck of the Woods | reviewed by Ian Pople

Amy Woolard Neck of the Woods, Alice James Books, $16.95 There’s a perky, feisty quality to the writing in Amy Woolard’s debut collection, Neck of the Woods.  A glance at a few of the titles of the poems will give some of the overall flavour of the collection: ‘All Get Out’, ‘Girl Gets Sick of […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Sarah Feldman | The Half-Life of Oracles | reviewed by Ian Pople

Sarah Feldman | The Half-Life of Oracles | Fitzhenry & Whiteside: C$15.00 The writer who takes on the oracular and the vatic is offering themselves up as a hostage to fortune.  The subject matter may well take in the various versions of myth that are parts of certain types of education but not part of the education […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

London Gothic, by Nicholas Royle ( Confingo Press, £12.99), reviewed by Richard Clegg

London Gothic by Nicholas Royle ( Confingo Press, £12.99) As well as a novelist and film aficionado, Nicolas Royle is one of the foremost practitioners of the short story form. As editor  and publisher of  his own Nightjar publications, he has been a doughty champion of other writers, often well off the beaten track. The […]

Read More 0 Comments
Livi Michael

Nikolai Leskov | Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk: Selected Stories of Nikolai Leskov | reviewed by Livi Michael

Nikolai Leskov | Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk: Selected Stories of Nikolai Leskov | New York Review of Books: £14.99 The New York Review Books has published a selection of the stories of one of Russia’s lesser known writers, Nikolai Leskov. This beautifully presented volume contains six lengthy stories or novellas, and an excellent introduction by Donald […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Carrie Etter, The Shooting Gallery (Verve), reviewed by Ken Evans

In The Shooting Gallery, Carrie Etter uses a favourite form, the prose poem, to interrogate and illuminate the fatal attraction in a country with more guns than people. However, her way in is not outrage or despair, but to look through an artist’s eye, in a sequence of twelve ekphrastic poems, featuring images suggested by […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Robert Selby, The Coming-Down Time (Shoestring Press, £10.00) | reviewed by Paul McLoughlin

A WORLD OF NOT MINDING Robert Selby’s poems are, as the blurb tells us, ‘love songs of England’: they set out to record and praise what’s good and will not allow themselves to get distracted. And what’s good is be found in its people. Even the war can come across as a matter of camaraderie […]

Read More 0 Comments
David Cooke

Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Collected Poems (€20.00 (pb), The Gallery Press)

The publication of Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin’s Collected Poems, encompassing some half a century’s work, is a welcome opportunity to appreciate the full extent of her achievement and leaves one in little doubt that her poetry, by virtue of its emotional depth and imaginative élan, places her in the front rank of poets currently writing in […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Keith S. Wilson | Fieldnotes on Ordinary Love | reviewed by Ian Pople

Keith S. Wilson | Fieldnotes on Ordinary Love | Copper Canyon Press: $16.00 The back-cover blurb for this, Keith S. Wilson’s first collection, notes, ‘these are poems that speak in layers, bridging the interstitial spaces between the personal and societal longing.’ This sense of layers suggests that there is a horizontal ‘flow’ to Wilson’s poems. There is […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Christian Wiman | Survival is a Style | reviewed by Ian Pople

Christian Wiman | Survival is a Style | FSG: $24.00 In his essay ‘God’s Truth is Life’, Christian Wiman writes, ‘What might it mean to be drawn into meanings that, in some profound and necessary sense, shatter us? This is what it means to love. This is what it should mean to write one more poem. The […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Arthur Sze | Sight Lines | reviewed by Ian Pople

Arthur Sze Sight Lines Copper Canyon Press $16.00 I had not encountered Arthur Sze’s poetry before and his approach is one of the most interesting and surprising that I’ve come across in a long time. It is almost as if Sze is a L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poet with images. The images roll out and around in Sze’s […]

Read More 0 Comments
Jim Johnstone

Natural Selection | an essay on Carmine Starnino’s Dirty Words: Selected Poems by Jim Johnstone

  For those who are interested in Canadian poetry but have yet to investigate it seriously, Carmine Starnino’s Dirty Words offers a portal into the career of one of Canada’s finest craftsmen.   Natural Selection Carmine Starnino, Dirty Words: Gaspereau Press, 2020 Volumes of selected poetry are double-edged propositions. On one hand, they’ve been known to consolidate reputations, […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Ed Seaward | Fair | reviewed by Phoebe Walker

Ed Seaward | Fair | The Porcupine’s Quill   Fair, the first published novel from Canadian author Ed Seaward, offers the reader a warped pilgrimage into the underbelly of Los Angeles, trailing in the footsteps of lost soul, Eyan, as he flies low under the uneasy influences of pint-pot street tyrant Paul, and a wandering, dishevelled […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay | Cynical Theories | reviewed by Ryan Whittaker

Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay | Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity – and Why This Harms Everybody | Pitchstone Publishing Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay’s new book, Cynical Theories, argues that much of modern scholarship has been ideologically compromised, endangering education and progress. With identity politics rising in global prominence, […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Aria Aber | Hard Damage | reviewed by Ian Pople

Aria Aber | Hard Damage | University of Nebraska Press: $17.95   Not so long ago, I reviewed Patricia Smith’s Incendiary Art on this page. The title of Aria Aber’s first volume, Hard Damage, points in a similar rhetorical direction. The title is a gesture, a performative, which throws down a gauntlet to the reader. It is […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Pablo Neruda | The Unknown Neruda | reviewed by Ian Pople

Pablo Neruda | The Unknown Neruda edited and translated by Adam Feinstein | Arc Publications: £11.99.   Described by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who might be considered just a little parti pris, as ‘the greatest poet of the twentieth century in any language’, Pablo Neruda has had a multitude of translators. Such a great poet will always […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Miklόs Radnόti | Camp Notebook trans. Francis R. Jones | reviewed by Ian Pople

Miklόs Radnόti | Camp Notebook trans. Francis R. Jones | Arc Publications: £9.99   In 1944, the Hungarian poet Miklόs Radnóti was shot while being force-marched from the copper mine in Bor in Serbia towards Germany. His body, exhumed from a ditch after the war, was identified from the notebook in his pocket. That notebook is […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Thomas Travisano | Love Unknown: The Life and Worlds of Elizabeth Bishop | reviewed by Ian Pople

Thomas Travisano | Love Unknown: The Life and Worlds of Elizabeth Bishop | Viking: £18.99 That Elizabeth Bishop’s poetry had autobiographical roots, even as it eschewed the ‘confessional’, was acknowledged in the reception of her work from the beginning. Randall Jarrell, ‘the most severe and exacting poetry critic in midcentury America’ reviewed Bishop’s first book, […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Carl Phillips | Star Map with Action Figures | reviewed by Ian Pople

  Carl Phillips | Star Map with Action Figures | Sibling Rivalry Press, $12.00; Pale Colours in a Tall Field, FSG, $23.00 At a recent reading, Carl Phillips suggested that Star Map with Action Figures was like an EP; a selection of poems that wouldn’t really fit on an LP length book such as Pale Colours in […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Nathanial Farrell | Lost Horizon | reviewed by Ian Pople

Nathaniel Farrell Lost Horizon Ugly Duckling Presse $17 In her recent book, Prose Poetry and the City, Donna Stonecipher quotes Baudelaire on the prose poem, commenting that ‘out of my explorations of huge cities, out of the medley of their innumerable interrelations, that this haunting ideal was born.’ This ‘haunting ideal’ of Baudelaire’s was of […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

8 Pamphlets from Rack and Melos Presses reviewed by Ian Pople

Michèle Roberts, Swimming Through A Painting By Bonnard, Róisín Tierney, Mock-Orange, Kate Quigley, If You Love Something, Christopher Reid, Not Funny Any More, A.C.Bevan, Field Trips In The Anthropocene Rack Press, £5.00, Michèle Roberts, Fifteen Beads, Andrew McCulloch, The Lincolnshire Rising, The Melos Press, £5.00, Nicholas Murray, The Yellow Wheelbarrow, The Melos Press, £10.00 As […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Jan Prikryl | No Matter | reviewed by Ian Pople

Jana Prikryl | No Matter | Tim Duggan Books: $15.00   There’s often a bouncy joie de vivre, sometimes a swagger about much of Jana Prikryl’s poetry. It seems to tilt on that fulcrum between observation and perception, which is a kind of muted introspection. We are often in the presence of someone who feels on the […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

Michael Heller Telescope: Selected Poems NYRB Poets £12.99, reviewed by Ian Pople

Michael Heller Telescope: Selected Poems NYRB Poets £12.99 Although Michael Heller’s work tends to be associated with the Objectivism of Reznikoff and Oppen, that is not the first thing that strikes a reader coming to this nearly 300-page Selected.  Not only is this an ample selection from Heller’s career, but it shows a wide sweep […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

Paul Valéry, Nathaniel Rudavsky-Brody (tr.)¦The Idea of Perfection The Poetry and Prose of Paul Valéry: a Bilingual Edition¦(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)¦ reviewed by Edmund Prestwich

Paul Valéry, Nathaniel Rudavsky-Brody (translator)¦The Idea of Perfection The Poetry and Prose of Paul Valéry: a Bilingual Edition¦Farrar, Straus and Giroux hardback $54.50¦ reviewed by Edmund Prestwich Paul Valéry occupies an ambiguous position in modern literary culture. In later life – after he’d stopped writing poetry – he bestrode the French cultural scene like a […]

Read More 0 Comments
Ian Pople

John Gurney | Meister Eckhart and the Predicate of Light | reviewed by Ian Pople

John Gurney | Meister Eckhart and the Predicate of Light | Poetry Salzburg: £6.00 John Gurney was one of those writers, present in any culture, who become rather niche figures, rack up a small, focused succés d’estime, and then quietly disappear. So it’s greatly to the credit of Poetry Salzburg who’ve published much else of […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

The Book of Tehran | edited by Fereshteh Ahmadi | reviewed by Kathryn Tann

The Book of Tehran | Comma Press: £9.00 Comma Press’ ‘Reading the City’ title series is rapidly filling up with quality collections, each more intriguing than the last. As they venture abroad to cities so often overlooked as creative hotbeds, these collections are not only an impressive logistical feat, nor merely an exercise in the […]

Read More 0 Comments
The Manchester Review

David Cooke | Staring at a Hoopoe | reviewed by Ken Evans

David Cooke | Staring at a Hoopoe | Dempsey & Windle Publishing: £10 It’s a confident poetry practitioner who opens a collection with a villanelle. The challenging form divides opinion in contemporary poetry, of course, with some saying the last word was had long ago by Thomas and Bishop (with perhaps, an almost grudging acceptance […]

Read More 0 Comments