Friday, 8 April 2016

Paul McLoughlin on Sarah Howe in London Grip

Sarah Howe's verse has intrigued and challenged me over the past few months, so I was delighted to read Paul McLoughlin's review of her prize-winning Loop of Jade on London Grip this week. Like all the best criticism, his work encourages readers to get hold of the book and form or revise their own views.

Why is the review in question so good? Well, it strikes an excellent balance, especially bearing in mind the opinion-laden minefield that has been created beyond Howe's verse itself. McLoughlin manages to highlight Howe's terrific strengths, while also discussing aspects that I too find difficult in her poetry. It would be hugely unfair to extract out-of-context quotes from McLoughlin's piece, so I recommend you read it in full here.


  1. For a review to be balanced I think it should include lots of references and quotations from the text itself. This one does and the honesty of the reviewer is refreshing. Whatever your opinion on the collection, this is a considered response, as opposed to other more recent comments I could mention! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Maria,

      Thanks for commenting!

      Yes, I do agree that quotes are crucial to giving a flavour of the text and justifying opinions. In fact, carefully chosen extracts tend to encourage me to buy books far more than lavish praise.

  2. Dear Matthew

    Talking of reviews, I have just finished reading 'How (Not) To Get Your Poetry Published' by Helena Nelson. I genuinely think that it's a fantastic book that no poet should be without.(Sarah Howe's isn't bad either.)

    Best wishes from Simon R. Gladdish