Thursday 26 April 2012

Lizzy Dening's Nasty Little Intro #2

A whole host of freshly baked reviews have just gone live over at Sphinx as part of Issue 20. It includes pieces on chapbooks by poets such as Hannah Lowe, Ira Lightman and Ian McMillan, while also featuring my take on Lizzy Dening's excellent mini-pamphlet, Nasty Little Intro #2, which you can read here.

Thursday 19 April 2012

Larkin on Betjeman

As part of their extensive web archive, The Guardian provide an online version of Philip Larkin's 1959 review of John Betjeman's Collected Poems. It's well worth a look and you can read it here.

I often feel that such articles reveal as much about the reviewer as his subject, and this is no exception. Larkin implicitly defends many of his own poetic values when highlighting Betjeman's virtues. I was especially drawn to his explanation of the way he feels many critics misuse the term "nostalgia" when dealing with Betjeman (and Larkin):

"the quality in his poetry loosely called nostalgia is really that never-sleeping alertness to note the patina of time on things past which is the hall-mark of the mature writer"

This is superbly put. Of course, it inevitably dodges the constant interplay in both Larkin's and Betjeman's work between their yearning for "things past" and their critical view of "things present". All in all, Larkin's review is a terrific piece of unashamedly partial and passionate writing. I invariably end up comparing his view of British poetry and society in 1959 with how he might judge where we are in 2012, but that's a different blog post altogether...

Saturday 14 April 2012

Six things

Today sees me tackling Kona Macphee's questions as part of her regular "Six Things" feature on that elusive clarity. You can see my responses here. Why not have a look at how other poets replied while you're on her site? W.N. Herbert's dual identity and Polly Clark's brief yet illuminating answers are among my personal favourites.

Wednesday 11 April 2012

Excellent review of Inventing Truth in Under the Radar

Issue Nine of Under the Radar, Nine Arches Press' flagship magazine, came out recently. It's packed with lots of high-quality poetry by the likes of Richie McCaffery and Sheila Hamiton, while also giving space to well-crafted short stories.

The magazine finishes off with an extensive reviews section. It features a piece on Inventing Truth by Michael W. Thomas, who writes about my pamphlet as follows:

"Matthew Stewart has words down to a tee. He shows that, if you put enough effort into persuading it, prosaic language will reveal its poetry.As Inventing Truth shows, precision and compassion are not mutually exclusive, and care with the choice and placing of words brings rich rewards."

I'm delighted to have found such an appreciative reader.

Monday 2 April 2012

Ink, Sweat and Tears have a new website

Ink, Sweat and Tears, one of the leading U.K. poetry e-zines, have a brand new website that you can find here. What's more, they seem to have managed to take their excellent archive with them. It's a treasure trove of great poetry in a wide range of styles, so why not browse through it while paying them a visit?