Poetry: new works by Eavan Boland, Bhanu Kapil, Ranjit Hoskote and Róisín Tierney

Reviews: Stimulating poetry infused with tenderness, longing and honesty

Eavan Boland’s death is is a huge loss to Irish and world poetry. Drawn by Dearbhla Kelly

Eavan Boland’s death is is a huge loss to Irish and world poetry. Drawn by Dearbhla Kelly

“Countries are working hypotheses that sometimes fail,” writes Ranjit Hoskote in his substantial and ranging new collection, The Atlas of Lost Beliefs (Arc Publications). Taken from a prescient and unnerving poem, The Refugee Pauses in Flight, it speaks to the multiple failures of that “atlas” of the title – the shifting, mutable geographies of colonialism, terror, economics, darkened throughout by violence.

The refugee escapes, “my wings of flame/ doused”, and has learnt not to look back: “Even the briefest glance over the shoulder/ could turn you to salt on a photograph.” This startling image – itself concerned with image making – traces the human cost of art and its modes of capture and representation.

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