Review of ‘Solastalgia’ by Brian McManus

Nigel Kent - Poet and Reviewer

Having read Brian McManus’s memorable debut pamphlet, Liar, Liar, about the pandemic, I looked forward to reading more of his work. His new collection,Solastalgia(Hedgehog Poetry press, 2021) shares the same uncompromising treatment of his subjects but in this work we see a sustained exploration of what it is to be alive in the 21st century.

Writing about events such as, the Lockerbie Air Disaster and Lockdown, he explores the unpredictability and fragility of life. He shows how our lives can be turned upside down in an instant, as he says, ‘we are forever fated to cross at amber’ (Crossing at amber). Life is hazardous: we live constantly on the cusp of danger (aptly symbolized by his reference to the amber traffic light) because we are subject to powerful forces outside our control. This idea is cleverly and movingly conveyed in his poem Where a…

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