Glyn Maxwell

Glyn Maxwell seems an interesting and extremely varied writer of poems, and a poet I intend to read more of in the coming months, having only come across bits of his collaborations with Armitage way back in Moon Country, written when the New Gen promo packed the two off to Iceland together. But he's come to my attention recently in spotting this wonderful and inventive poem in The Guardian Review just after xmas; an impressive long poem which is by turns exhilarating and humorous, but also wonderfully rhymed and metrically well executed. But then with the following review quotes spanning his decade-and-some writing career so far, I feel like I must've been missing out on something good:

No-one treats English quite like the clapped-out motor Maxwell clearly thinks it is. He kicks it, he re-vamps it, he customizes it. He leads you up syntactic blind alleys and gets you doing semantic U-turns that leave the hair bristling - Adam Thorpe, Observer

Glyn Maxwell covers a greater distance in a single line than most people do in a poem - Joseph Brodsky

His range is vast, his energy unlimited, his temperement restless and risk-taking... Maxwell looks well on his way to becoming the complete modern English poet - Poetry Review

Beautiful and moving and authentic poetry can be written today, and we know this not least because Glyn Maxwell is writing it’– The New Republic

Before I invest in any collections, then, I'd be interested to know if any readers of Maxwell have any favourites, or any particular opinions of his work?


Matt Merritt said...

It depends what you want - those reviews (the first three at least) sound to me like they apply more to the first three collections. You can get them all under one cover, from Bloodaxe, as The Boys At Twilight.
The Breakage and The Nerve are less daring, and arguably less exciting, tending to feel more traditional. They're excellent in parts, but a bit TOO well-crafted at times.
The Sugar Mile is well worth buying, though. It doesn't always work, but it's a good read.

Andrew Shields said...

My favorite collection of his is "The Breakage," but my favorite Maxwell book is "The Sugar Mile."

The first three collections are wonderfully SASSY.

Ben Wilkinson said...

Thanks for this, Matt and Andy. I'll probably start with The Boys At Twilight - get a bit of an overview before I decide whether to buy anything else.