Swans We Cannot See

12.9519.50

Swans We Cannot See, Andrew Jamison’s third collection, spans parenthood, masculinity, climate, food, teaching, art and literature. The seen, unseen and imagined intermingle throughout. In poetry that spreads its own wings the author glides between a range of subjects and forms displaying his craftsmanship, itself a theme explored in poems dedicated to artisans, blank verse and Parmesan cheese.

‘A Short History of the Potato’ and ‘J M Synge in Crossgar, 2022’, both playful and reverential, are sustained meditations on Ireland, past and present. ‘Death of an Artisan’, a new series of imaginary translations of Georges Bertrand, concludes the book. Transformational in many senses, Swans We Cannot See displays a poet and his poetry coming of age and taking flight.

In his third collection, Swans We Cannot See (The Gallery Press, €12.95), Andrew Jamison gives us poems of parenthood and food, music and history. As its title suggests, the swan is an important symbol of beauty and industry: the tranquil creature with furious feet. So many of these poems are ars poetica – poems concerned with the art of making poetry. As such, Jamison is in a meta-textual mood.Full of craft, humour and delight, there is much below the surface in this thoughtful collection. — Stephen Sexton, The Irish Times

 

‘Andrew Jamison has the ability to write poems of significant grace.’ — Seán Hewitt on Stay, Poetry Ireland Review

 

‘Thinking About the Point of Things’ is a tour de force of personal, public and political dimensions.’ — Ben Wilkinson on Happy Hour, TLS

In his third collection, Swans We Cannot See (The Gallery Press, €12.95), Andrew Jamison gives us poems of parenthood and food, music and history. As its title suggests, the swan is an important symbol of beauty and industry: the tranquil creature with furious feet. So many of these poems are ars poetica – poems concerned with the art of making poetry. As such, Jamison is in a meta-textual mood. In its dramatic monologue, The Muse to the Poet after the Poet Becomes a Father, the muse laments the poet’s lack of interest, having been usurped by a son: “What about this morning sky I’ve brought,/ mottled and pink, the leaves of the copper beech/ I’ve scattered painstakingly over the lawn,/ the light of the moon […] Doesn’t that at least remind you of walking home/ by country roads at night in your teens?”

 

Likewise, In Praise of Parmesan has cheesemakers who take a “special silver hammer” to “decipher if it’s ready,/ to gauge its age,/ adjudicate whether/ this one passes muster”. In Praise of Artisans imagines the craft of staircase making, a novel metaphor for the lyric poem: a device for ascent. Longer poems, JM Synge in Crossgar, 2022 and A Short History of the Potato, are witty but ambitious in their scale.

 

Poems for friends and family are particularly accomplished. To Angel, Islington is a moving tribute to Roddy Lumsden, poet and facilitator. Heaven as a Newsagents sees the afterlife so, “Mary Miscampbell/ selling Turkish Delight and Gold and Silver/ Benson and Hedges”. “My grandparents will be there,” he writes, “gossiping about who’s died, the endless weather”. On Earth as it is in Heaven, as they say. Full of craft, humour and delight, there is much below the surface in this thoughtful collection.

 

— Stephen Sexton, The Irish Times

Swans We Cannot See Preview

Publication date: 28 September 2023
Details: 88pp
ISBN PBK: 978 1 91133 862 8
ISBN HBK: 978 1 91133 863 5

Cover: ‘Earth Song 14 – Symphony’ (2023) © Joe Dunne egg/oil tempera on canvas, 160 x 200cm

0
    0
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop