Friday 26 May 2023

Anthony Wilson's The Wind and the Rain.

Anthony Wilson's sixth collection, The Wind and the Rain, is due out from Blue Diode Press next month. I was delighted to be asked to provide an endorsement for this excellent book. It reads as follows...

Throughout The Wind and The Rain, Anthony Wilson walks the tightrope of simplicity. He peels off layers of language, paring it back to its core, searching for the means to express the intensity of grief. In his skilled hands, less becomes more.

Wednesday 24 May 2023

My review of Alexandra Corrin-Tachibana's collection on Wild Court

My review of Alexandra Corrin-Tachibana's first full collection, Sing me down from the dark (Salt Publishing, 2022), is now up at Wild Court. My piece reflects on the confessional as poetry's play within a play. Here's a short snippet, but you can read it in full via this link...

...One key point is Corrin-Tachibana’s acute awareness of the poem as artistic artefact rather than as an object that exists purely at the service of the poet’s own self-expression and sense of self-worth....

Wednesday 3 May 2023

Pigeonholing in wine and poetry

There’s a primarily Anglo-Saxon obsession among so-called experts with attempting to turn wine into a dry, dead subject, to reduce it to exams (WSET/MW stuff) and points (Robert Parker, etc).

And then there’s the marketing ploy, often used by pubs and restaurants, of flogging wine by grape variety. This supposedly makes everything easier for the consumer to order once they’ve decided that they like, for instance, Sauvignon Blanc, in an impossible struggle to simplify things. Of course, such a strategy ignores the vagaries of soil, climate, grower and winemaker, all of which mean that there a huge gamut of Sauvignon Blancs. Many of them barely resemble each other in a comparative tasting.

Much the same could be said of poetry. It too is a slippery, incredibly complex subject that defies repeated critical and academic attempts at pigeonholing and classification. Poets are categorised but they defy those labels on a regular basis because the genre is alive and constantly shape-shifting.

In both poetry and wine, the more you know, the more you realise you know nothing.