• Shanley McConnell

Week Seven: The Monday Review

Updated: Oct 1

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It's been a while since my last upload, apologies! I do hope you are well, and have had a lovely start to your Christmas season. I think I read (and wrote) this post while it was still nearing-autumn.


The collections here were a real treat for me to read, and I'm so happy to share them with you. Best wishes!


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1. Woods etc., Alice Oswald


Published by Faber & Faber in 2008, Woods etc. is Alice Oswald's third collection of poems. Although I found this book to different in style and format to her acclaimed poem Dart (awarded the T. S. Eliot Prize in 2002), many readers and critics find Woods etc. to be an extension of the previous publication. As with all her works, this collection of poems also creates images out of beautiful, unusual sensory words.


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2. A Sleepwalk on the Severn, Alice Oswald


Set at night on the Severn Estuary, A Sleepwalk on the Severn re-describes the moonrise as it rises, hides and settles on the skies five times in its five different forms. As the new moon, half moon, full moon, no moon and the moon reborn.


Written for the 2009 festival of the Severn, Alice Oswald's A Sleepwalk on the Severn is a beautiful read. Her imagery and personification of gorgeousness and the mild is poignant, and the poem succeeds in what it set out to do, move over the night in affecting language and light.


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3. The Hero and the Girl Next Door, Sophie Hannah


Published by Carcanet in 1995, The Hero and the Girl Next Door is an unusual collection in that it is as adherent of rhymed metrical forms as it is aware that the most unsettling subjects can often be found in the most rigid of structures. She is witty in her examination of subtleties, feelings and desire, and her imagination makes the collection a captivating read.


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4. Angel Hill, Michael Longley


A Guardian/Herald Scotland Book of the Year, Angel Hill, published by Cape Poetry in 2017, is a collection concerned with nature, history and the very intimate fabric of the human world. Set in the Highlands (Carrigskeewaun and Lochalash), Longley's poems observe the world around him.


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5. The Eyes, Don Paterson


Published by Faber & Faber in 1999, Don Paterston's The Eyes echoes the work of Antonio Machado, a renowned Spanish poet of the twentieth century.


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6. The Man With Night Sweats, Thom Gunn


Faber & Faber published Thom Gunn's The Man With Night Sweats in 1992; the collection reveals author at the height of his power. In command of classical forms as well as colloquial wordings, Gunn writes from a place of intimate and social awareness.


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7. November, Sean O' Brien


Published by Picador Poetry, Sean O' Brien's November is a combination of intellectual thought and imagination. Some reviewers consider it to be restless, haunted by a sense of striking loss.


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8. Luna Park, Grevel Lindop


Carcanet published Grevel Lindop's Luna Park in 2015. The title is appropriate for many of the poems carry the color of the moon in setting and magic. This is truly a beautiful collection; the thing I appreciate most is the way all the lines within a poem connect whilst retaining an individuality that seems to resound as universal as each is specific.


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9. Pessimism for Beginners, Sophie Hannah


Sophie Hannah published Pessimism for Beginners with Carcanet Press in 2007. Having read it earlier in the week, I remember it as a collection focused on modern relationships, honesty, tenderness and ruthless wit.


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10. Rewards of Wonder: Poems of Cotswold, France, London, Ivor Gurney, edited by George Walter


George Walter's edition of Ivor Gurnsey's poems is controlled. The collection, begun in 1921 and completed in 1924, was the first of several poetry volumes written by Ivor Gurney (1890-1937) during his time in the City of London Mental Hospital. It is a reflection of nature and the world of his past.


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