Rhapsodies by Graham Hartill (Aquifer Press)

Tears in the Fence

Hartill’s poetry combines an interest in Buddhism with a political approach which manages to fuse an often sparse lyrical style with something more analytical so we have beauty and melancholy alongside anger and critique. We have ‘being in the moment’ and a celebration of the physical world together with a commentary on the negative consequences of capitalism and of the empire building realities of organised religion. I’m probably being a bit reductionist here but these seem to be the underlying themes of what is a wonderful book of contemporary poetry.

There’s a definition of the term Rhapsody fromCuddon’s Dictionary of Literary Termsat the end of the book which it’s worth bearing in mind:

Rhapsodymeans ‘stitch song’, a rhapsodistone who recited,

stitched together and improvised on various elements of epic

poetry.Inamoregeneralsensearhapsodymaybe an

emotional, perhaps even ecstatic, utterance.

From ‘Proverbs of Sugarloaf’ we get the following encapsulations:

If there’s no…

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