19 December 2018, The Tablet

Speed reading:Michael Glover reviews poems by Matthew Sweeney, Tomas Tranströmer and Jean Sprackland

by Michael Glover

 

Poets can be the strangest kind of storytellers. They leave ragged ends, puzzling questions. The destination is always just beyond the next corner but one. Does this matter? Not at all. It is the journey which counts, and the quality of our poet-companion. Here are three to be trusted almost as much as Virgil.

In a poem from My Life as a Painter (Bloodaxe Books, £9.95; Tablet price £8.95), the very last book by Matthew Sweeney of County Donegal (he died of motor neuron disease last year, at the age of 65), we are climbing up a rope ladder in the dark, wondering where, how, when, groping our way forward.

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