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:
Richard James Allen is a widely published and prize winning author, as well as being a multi-talented artist excelling in many art-forms, he describes himself as a poet, dancer, film director, actor, novelist and choreographer. His latest novel More Lies contains 33 chapters, each chapter no longer than one and a half pages, it is a small book but what it contains is a treasure of laughs and lies.
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.
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.