First Published in Orbis 169 he Hidden Word of Poetry by Adam Wyeth. 147pp, Salmon Poetry, Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland
Adam Wyeth’s book, The Hidden World of Poetry, comprising sixteen accessible but detailed essays, aims to showcase Ireland’s leading contemporary poetry, serve as a primer to analyse poems in depth, and to explore Celtic mythology’s exciting and popular heroes, gods and folktales.
The Magnitude of My Sublime Existence by Selima Hill, 80pp, £9.95, Bloodaxe Books, Bloodaxe Books Ltd, Eastburn, South Park, Hexham, Northumberland NE46 1BS
The day The Magnitude of My Sublime Existence arrived I glanced at the first poem but found the poetry so compelling, I couldn’t escape, and read to the end.
Although many of the sixty-four poems, almost entirely in couplets, are full of encounters with doctors, nurses, inpatients and a menagerie of creatures, they explore isolation and powerlessness, but also a scrabble for power and a sense of determination.
The compact, succinct, vivid poems give the arresting sense of being incarcerated alongside the narrator. Despite the emotions aroused, through the writer’s eyes I became objective and rational, and found myself observing, gathering evidence and facts in an attempt to become normal, and so be released.
When I read Matthew Sweeney’s Twentyone Men and a Ghost, I understood his own comment, ‘The Men poems took me by surprise’. Although each man has characteristics which might seem familiar, aspects of a person we can recollect from experience in daily life, Sweeney’s men taken together are a menagerie, an image which is enhanced by the animals both familiar and exotic, which swarm through the book to an equally varied backdrop of music, taking in banjos, reggae and classical composers.