Strictly No Poetry
By: Aidan Mathews
‘Aidan Mathews has the particular verbal gift and original way of seeing the world that this kind of writing requires. In less able hands such writing can become meretricious and tedious. But he is a master of the style.’ –Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, Charlie Chaplin’s Wishbone
‘The Cristiano Ronaldo of linguistic step-overs.’ –Dermot Bolger
- This is Mathews’ first collection of poems in twenty years.
- Forty-eight new poems included.
Strictly No Poetry, Mathews’ fourth volume of poetry, follows upon Windfalls (Dolmen 1977), Minding Ruth (Gallery 1983) and According to the Small Hours (Cape 1998), and has been long awaited.
His critic and biographer David Wheatley has this to say of the work:
‘It is no exaggeration to say that Mathews does not have themes so much as obsessions. If his Catholic faith provides the ground base for all his work, sexuality, mental illness and the Holocaust recur in poem after poem, stitching together the quotidian and the extreme … Synthesizing the sexual, the sacred, and the secular, Mathews’ poetry is a testament of great personal power, answerable to the cloister and the locked ward, the social lepers and the captains of the ship of state.’ (Irish Poetry, Wake Forest 2017)
In these forty-eight remarkable individual poems and sequences, Mathews lays out his witness to the travails and joys of youth and age, to the passing political parade and the intimacies of nature, to the exigencies of parenthood, of frailty and endurance. Informed by a Dublin sensibility, he holds fast to spiritual traditions while testing the parameters and indulgences of the modern world. His voice, by times Keatsian in its lyric penetration, is humanist in its instincts, universal in its reach, and exerts a singularity that leaves no shadow.