Publications

My book, The Other City, was published this November by Seren books.

It is available to buy at this link:  The Other City

"Sharply focused, beautifully resonant, deeply felt, these poems tend to travel in distinct streams: some reference and re-make narratives from classical Greek myth, featuring characters like Zeus, Narcissus, Ariadne, Ganymede; some rework elements of Welsh history, both ancient, as in ‘Y Bedd’, (inspired by a section of ‘The Stanzas of the Graves’ commemorating fallen warriors in the Black Book of Carmarthen, 12th Century), and modern as in ‘Elan’ where we we float through the eerie depths of a submerged Welsh village that was drowned to make a reservoir for Liverpool in the 60’s.

There are also a number of poems exploring the idea of otherness and the uncanny, where actions are done and undone, and the familiar made unfamiliar: “the horrifying stillness of the rocking horse.” Or, in ‘Leaving’, the landscape is dismantled behind the protagonist, ruthlessly and meticulously: “the leaves were turning/ and the trees were lifted from their drab./ We remembered them also and burnt them whole...”

This work is also characteristically steeped in winds and weathers, in the seasons of the year, from winters of fog and wet grass in the Welsh mountains, where the 12-year-old author strides down the hill, “heroic, a lamb under each arm” to hypnotic floodwaters in Ullswater, ‘Years later you’ll wake drenched with the moon’s/ long downpour of light...’ to various elsewhere both real: ‘almond trees blossoming in the streets of Jerusalem’, and imagined, as in the title poem where ‘missing men’ are sought in the “drab city of brick/ penned in by a summer’s haze.”

‘This is a beguiling debut from a poet who already has a recognizable voice and emotional register. Sensuous, musical, darkly involved, the poems make and confound their own realities. Each is beautifully detailed, each rich with memory and possibility, haunted by presence and absence, by a terrific and sometimes terrifying sense of the forces that condition human experience and relationships.
The Other City is compelling and provocative work from an authentically engaged poetic imagination.’ – Graham Mort


I have a few copies of my 2004 pamphlet This Reckless Beauty left.  They're usually available to buy at events, but if you are keen to buy one and unable to travel to a reading, please drop me an email.


Reviews for This Reckless Beauty, 2004.

“A work of both tender intimacy and powerful clarity, This Reckless Beauty pushes Rhiannon Hooson to the forefront of literary female voices. Hooson’s project is to cast human love and all its entanglements into a mythic framework, thereby giving the reader an archetypal vision of what we strive to receive most from both ourselves and others, a kind of abiding and unspoken acceptance. With subjects ranging from the imagination to immortality, Hooson stands unabashedly vulnerable to the reader and successfully captures the reverberations ofyearning within these fierce poems. Artfully weaving the erotic with the sublime, Hooson’s nostalgia for the limited ‘reckless beauty’, is a work of lasting substance, revealing our own unexamined desires and demiurges.”
Gerard Wozek
“Uncompromising and sharp-edged. Her Welsh ancestry and heritage give her voice a strength which is rarely associated with women poets. Hers is an imagination fed and coloured by a variety of mythologies and histories. The rhythmic arch and span of the lines have an almost incantatory balance and counterpoise, and some of these poems could be the voice of the bard singing of battles, of mythic hunts, of heroic loves. If ever a book belied the idea of women’s poetry as ‘sentimental’, this collection is it.”
Joanna Boulter
“In This Reckless Beauty the modern world and that of myth are seamlessly joined, giving the poems a resonance that pulls the reader up short… I found myself entranced.” Lyn Moir
“Rhiannon Hooson’s poetry glistens in the dark like a pointed end of a spear. It is sensual
and dangerous, revelling in the primal forces simultaneously held and released by each
Charles Bennett

“This is poetry of blood and blade, of the boar hunt, of sacrifice, of love at knife point. It is set in an apparently timeless world that draws on a multitude of myths, from Wales, the author's home, but also from Siberia, Ancient Greece and the Old Testament. The poems draw essentially on images from nature, from the night and the night sky, from woods and sand and desert. Only occasionally does modern life peep out, quite unexpectedly, — an unanswered telephone, pylons that hiss and crack in the rain, a Windsor knot, a light bulb, driving — and these serve as a sharp reminder that Hooson's purpose in using myth is not to embed her tales in some distant and irrelevant past. The latent violence of the subject matter is contemporary, personal, and this becomes more apparent as one reads on.
Hooson's choice of language enables her to achieve a masterful combination of the sensuality and violence of human relationships. Her rhythms are firm, her language taut, and her use of alliteration, internal rhyme, and, above all, the repetitions fit well within her mythical framework. Certain words recur like a leitmotif: blood, meat, wound, flesh. The imagery of action is well embedded in metaphor: laughter that snarls, smiles that glint, a bird circling an "acid-sharp path" into cloud, the tang of dawn that "sluices the window", the sun's "loud smack". We could be in the kenningar.

For anyone who knows Elisabeth Rapp's poetry, THIS RECKLESS BEAUTY reads almost like photographic negatives of Rapp's view. Here is the violent underside to suffering, both man's and nature's, and HOOSON revels in it. I recommend anyone with a taste for blood to get their teeth into it.”
Jacqueline Karp, New Hope International

“Her poetry is very much earthed in a sense of the primal, the chthonic. Allusions are fleshed out with a vivid savagery, as is her use of textual layout; lines are hot, thick, heavy with the meat of her thought and the explicit actions of desire.”
Sarah Law, Orbis 132

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