Ilan by Steven Hitchins
Via the shadowy presence of a little-known saint and other previous residents, Ilan takes a geological approach to the time and space of Eglwysilan and its surrounding area, digging down into the past to throw up verbal fragments that glitter with possibility. Glimpsed lives of bridge-builders and miners intersect with pitch-perfect evocation of twenty-first century voices in a language as slippery, resistant and compelling as the landscape in which it is entangled.
Steven Hitchins is an acute observer, with an eye for detail and an ear for contemporary speech. He is also a poet with a sense of the historical and geological forces and processes that have made his native ground. Above all, his imagination is alive to the material and psychological transformations of life in time and space. His alchemy transforms history and myth, and fact and dream into poetry. Ilan is a marvel of language, which repays many readings.’
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15.11.13. – 5.2.14. by Andrew Taylor
As much a phenomenological treatise as a collection of poetry, each page of 15.11.13 – 5.2.14 is a tabula rasa on which the world is assembled anew from its minutiae: glasses of whisky, toasted cheese sandwiches, coffee at motorway services, the intermittent twinkle of fairy lights. Poised, precise, modular and molecular, this book reminds us that the way to the empyrean is via the quotidian, that we understand the big things by first understanding the small, that the truth lies always close to hand. 15.11.13 – 5.2.14 is a work of sensuous particularity and Taylor is a poet who knows the importance of stating just what colour of milk he is drinking and what, exactly, is in his soup. The definition is in the detail. What will survive of us is roasted beetroot risotto.
– Tom Jenks
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