It Feels Like Disbelief
It Feels Like Disbelief is a remarkable book. Its poems are contemporary and engaged, sometimes edgy, yet they exhibit a skilled formal control and a marvellous capacity to make music out of language. There is an emotional strength at the core of these poems which allows the reader to accompany the poet on a series of shared and satisfying personal journeys. The poems are also rewardingly wide-ranging, dealing with subjects as various as human intimacy, sensuality and love, history, refugees, fishing, books, photography, reading, desire, bushwalking, gardening, children, opera, archaeology and the Iraq war. Throughout there is an elegiac sense of the imminence of loss; of how time and history undo the very things that we know and take for granted. Many poems reveal often troubling or mysterious domestic interiors, along with intense moments of recognition and recollection. The book contains a number of longer poems as well as numerous lyrics, including a rewarding series of sonnets. These are all poems that amply repay a first reading and they will further reward the reader who becomes familiar with their subtleties and intricacies. Hetherington returns to various themes and motifs throughout the volume. Music is one example, which first figures in the phrase 'elegant singing lines of silver death', soon becomes 'Bach's singing tune' and then a scale that 'rippled up and down the house'. By the end of the volume music is 'the call / of being that is usually unheard'. In such ways, these poems explore and recast human perceptions, while also conjuring memorable images and phrases. This poetry collection is extraordinary in the way that it combines figurative language with plain-speaking. When the poet says that a wasp represents 'some trouble or beauty / transformed', he might have been speaking for the transformative power of his collection as a whole. Paul Hetherington is the award-winning author of seven previous books of poetry and this new collection confirms his position as one of the most gifted poets of his generation.
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Abschied Aged Nine ancient Archaeology arms Australian Balthus Blood and Old blue body bones breath Bushwalking Canberra Casual Sonnet Cat's Bowl catch Cocoon colours creek curl dark Disbelief Paul Hetherington Domestic Suite Drawer dream dressed face falling Feels Like Disbelief fingers flesh floor flower flurried Furlong garden groyne hands Harold Cazneaux holding Iraq knew language lean Library of Lost lightly lives Love and Music love easily demands memory Mind's Eye Old Belief pain painting past patterns Pick-Up Pickerel Place of Water poem poetry poised pools Prep-School Boarder pulse Quandaries rain Renovations rippling scarf Scarf-Light Scissors seems Settling shade Shadow Swimmer shape shoulder silence singing skin slippery Softer soil Someone May Ask speak Stalk Stasis stone subtle things love easily thought transformed Translation turning unwieldy voice Waking at Night walk wall Wasp watercolour window window's sunlight words Writer's Habits