Tuesday, 4 September 2012
Warwick Review and Acapulco
I was particularly pleased the have a review of my latest poetry collection, Acapulco (Melos) by Jackie Wills. Here is what she said:
After referring to the poet's "taut precision" which "can spill into satire or deliver meticulous detail" she went on:
"Murray is an acclaimed biographer, novelist, runs Rack Press and is a Fellow of the Welsh Academy. This collection contains 25 new poems and selected work from two previous collections, Plausible Fictions and The Narrators Murray's range is eclectic and within the new poems, unsurprisingly, his political voice is present. He tackles pollution with stark imagery in 'Food', homophobia in 'Courage', and racist violence in 'Culture Capital'. Later in the collection, his furious satire 'Get Real' takes on contemporary politics in the fine tradition of poets as diverse as Alexander
Pope, Linton Kwesi Johnson and the late Peter Reading. Murray's tight style, at its best in the first verse from 'Food', serves his politics well:
On Midway Atoll they spread out the infant albatross:
its stomach slit to show the bellyful of plastic trash
that parents plucked from the polluted sea as food.
In the older sequence 'Greek Islands', Murray’s brevity delivers a sense of transience, of visual pleasure, of moments attached to places like tiny threads or found objects. These poems are as beautiful and challenging as the newer poem 'Island Swimmer', in which the subject, an older woman, easily outpaces the narrator, her body emulating "the action of the eel". At times, among the many subjects this collection tackles, there is a sense of the fragility of relationships, and, while Murray's a careful writer, occasionally his language leans towards the archaic. But the wry title poem, ‘Acapulco’, is another that shows him on form, condensing the image – "the tower blocks gather to the contemplation of blue” – and setting pelican against tourist.
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