Review of ‘Under A Mind’s Staircase’ by Robin McNamara

Nigel Kent - Poet and Reviewer

The debut pamphlet, Under a Mind’s Staircase, by Robin McNamara (Hedgehog Poetry Press, 2021)  is another reminder – if we needed one – of Hedgehog Poetry Editor, Mark Davidson’s impressive eye for talent. Though widely published in magazines and anthologies, this is McNamara’s first collection and readers new to his work will immediately recognise its quality.

I begin this review, however, with some trepidation, more than usual. As always, there is my concern to do justice to the fabulous poetry, but today I feel more than that, for his fine poem, Autopsy of a Writer, provides a stark reminder to the reviewer of his (or her) responsibilities. Using the visceral image of a dissection, McNamara shows the reader how much poetry is part of a poet’s identity and purpose. An Editor’s rejection is portrayed as an act of butchery: ‘You reached in/ And pulled out/ My beating heart’ and…

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