New poetry reviewed: earthy worlds and family histories

Collections from Eleanor Hooker, Raymond Antrobus, Gail McConnell and Parwana Fayyaz

Poet Eleanor Hooker whose new collection is  Of Ochre and Ash (Dedalus, €12.50)

Poet Eleanor Hooker whose new collection is Of Ochre and Ash (Dedalus, €12.50)

Eleanor Hooker’s Of Ochre and Ash (Dedalus, €12.50) opens with Redwing, “newly dead –/ feather and frame round blown glass./It felt transgressive…to inspect”. Inside the poet’s ribcage, a “hummingbird turns the key”. Typically, Hooker is “…fearful I will fall through its song” yet perseveres in her investigation of strange tantalising histories while the dead hang around, more alive than ever:

Dad is by the hearth, encouraging ash back to life.
I’ve never lived in a house that held its heat I tell him,
unable to say I miss you in case he recollects
his death. Somewhere in the house
a child is crying. Find her, he says.
(When You Dream of the Dead)

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