Sunday, April 8, 2012

Poetry review: A Hundred Doors, Michael Longley

A small book that felt good to hold. Inside a beautifully crafted collection of poems that range in subject from place, to family, across other poets. There are memorials, reflections and some very personal poems –these feel written for the individual yet inclusive and welcoming to the outside reader.  To do that is a rare gift, as is Longley's ability to bring nature into poetry so that the ordinary becomes special and remains available. There are some good examples of the music of lists in this book, most effectively wild flower names but also the mundane, as in A Mobile for Maisie.

This is the first Longley collection I’ve read … from front cover to back and the in reverse … that   a way into the whole of this collection that then drew me back to the poems that appealed most. Among the stars for me are The Lifeboat, The Poker and Missing Marie … –elegies in different forms that show how reduction brings a focus to meaning, how plain speaking is poetic.

A book to return to: once again, the value is twofold, the poetry and the collection  of poems.

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