Skip to main content

New Irish Poetry

Just a snippet of news in the form of my review of Barbara Smith's Kairos and Fred Johnston's The Oracle Room appearing on Eyewear.

Comments

Cailleach said…
Hey Ben, I read the review (with great nervousness!) and was interested in your take on Kairos - many thanks. All points of view noted.

How's the MA coming along? I'm finding the one in Belfast is really making me think far more critically about my own work and developing poetry at a much faster pace than I might have on my own bat. Some mighty fine poets up there as well!
Ben Wilkinson said…
Hi Barbara,

I'm glad you found my review interesting. I did enjoy Kairos, and I hope this comes across in my appraisal of the book. At the end of the day, they're just my humble opinions of course. But I do hope you found my perspective useful.

As for the MA, it's really great to be studying poetry with Maurice Riordan. As you say, I'm finding my poetry seems to be developing quite quickly, and I'm finding it easier to be braver in my approach and not stick so much to the old tried and tested tropes. Always good to try new things. And of course, it's also encouraging to be in a class with so many able, but also stylistically varied and differing writers. Who teaches on your MA?

Oh, and before I forget, glad to hear that copies of Kairos are selling fast :)

best,

B

Popular posts from this blog

Poetry in Motion

POETRY IN MOTION
Why one Reds supporter is committing his love for Liverpool FC to verse


Liverpool FC and poetry have a lot of previous – from John Toshack’s Gosh It’s Tosh collection in the late 70s, to the verse of Dave Kirby and Peter Etherington in the fanzine Red All Over the Land, to the lines written by poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy, a University of Liverpool graduate, in the aftermath of 2012’s Hillsborough findings. Now there’s Ben Wilkinson, Reds fan and book critic for The Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement, who’s compiling a series of poems commemorating the club’s legends. “Football is part of the fabric of life, and anything that’s important to people finds its way into poetry,” he says. “Wilfred Owen’s poem 'Disabled' describes a soldier who loses the use of his legs, meaning he can never play football again. Philip Larkin’s 'MCMXIV' compares boys queuing to join the army to fans outside Villa Park. These poems have stood the test of time because t…

Way More Than Luck (Seren Books, 2018)

From the thumping heartbeat of the distance runner to the roar of football terraces across the decades, Ben Wilkinson’s debut confronts the struggles and passions that come to shape a life. Beginning with an interrogation of experiences of clinical depression and the redemptive power of art and running, the collection centres on a series of vivid character portraits, giving life to some of football's legends. By turns frank, comic, sinister and meditative – ‘the trouble with you, son, is that all your brains are in your head’ – these poems uncover the beautiful game’s magic and absurdity, hopes and disappointments, as striking metaphors for our everyday dramas. Elsewhere there are tender love poems, political satire and strange dream worlds, in an urgently lyrical book of poems that take many forms and modes of address: pantoum, sonnet, sestina; epistle, confession, dramatic monologue. All are united by a desire to speak with searching clarity about matters of the heart. Way More …

Way More Than Luck in The Poetry Review

Jade Cuttle gives her verdict on Way More Than Luck in the latest issue of The Poetry Review, in a critical essay that takes in two other debuts: Richard Scott's Soho and Zaffar Kunial's Us.

It's clear that the love of the beautiful game extends to Wilkinson's poetics, for he embraces a variety of forms and modes of address. From formally dexterous sonnets and sestinas, to epistles and endearing confessionalism, this is a book that likes to keep the reader's on their toes. Something Wilkinson does well is navigate the dark abyss of clinical depression [...] from "going about / the tedium that strings our lives / together: paperchain people, / baskets lined under strip-lights" ('To David Foster Wallace'), to shivering over a beige Cornish pasty, "ticking over / before some godforsaken motorway service station" ('You Must Be Joking'), there is tenderness and touching honesty to be found in the darker moments he describes. For this …