I once had the privilege of hearing Miriam Wei Wei Lo read her poetry at the State Library of Western Australia and also on the ABC’s Poetica. That seemed so long ago. In fact it was 2004 when her first edition of Against Certain Capture was published by Five Islands Press, in the New Poets 10. The good news is that her book has resurfaced, it’s an identical second edition published by an imprint called the Apothecary Archive.
My review of this dazzling book has been delayed by my father’s recent death. But the greatest tribute I can give to Anne Casey is to say that reviewing her work has been one of my greatest consolations in the past several weeks. I find myself rereading the poems in this collection several times a day, like a devout person telling their prayer beads.
It’s a delight to be able to join in the celebrations of Kevin Higgins’s stylish, urgent, and hell-raising new pamphlet tonight: in my experience, there’s nothing quite like it in the world of Irish poetry and literary criticism. If I were to distill down to a single element what I love, and what I believe is so necessary and unique, about Kevin’s work, it’s the wild and delicious ease (to be found in abundance in this pamphlet) in skewering the pieties of both the political and literary establishments:
There is no tranquillity in Claire Gaskin’s fourth poetry collection, Ismene’s Survivable Resistance. Though Gaskin draws on Sophocles’ plot and constellation of characters, this is not a tragedy. The tragedy has already occurred. As in Eurydice Speaks, Gaskin assumes the voice of the voiceless in a contemporary setting. Here Ismene is a poet grappling with her traumatic past. The reader of her poems is in the position of witness.
Abigail Chabitnoy is an American poet of Germanic and Alutiiq heritage, and How to Dress a Fish is her first collection of poetry. The book is the outcome of Chabitnoy’s project to find out what she could about her great-grandfather, Michael, a Native Alaskan purportedly orphaned as a boy, and taken from his family to Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania in 1909.
There is a majesty about Angela Costi’s new poetry collection, An Embroidery of Old Maps and New, in a weave of words that elevates the simple into an artful epic of beauty, dignity and a persistent quest for justice.