Adventurous and illuminating, Matthew Francis’s new poetry collection is full of flight, air and possibility.
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Matthew Francis’s latest collection celebrates the richness of nature and of our responses to it. The pleasures of summer are emblazoned in the colourful wings and evocative names of butterflies, while a nocturnal encounter with an earwig becomes a joyous incantation to the ‘witchy-beetle, forkin-robin’ of dialect. His love of history, embodied in his acclaimed Mandeville and The Mabinogi, gives rise to a sequence based on Robert Hooke’s microscopic observations. There are tributes to the poets Basho, Dafydd ap Gwilym and W. S. Graham, to fireworks, apple varieties, and hot toddies. And, in a moving elegy for a friend killed in a parachute accident, Francis shows us a vertiginous vision of a world where even the dead ‘sleep on the wing’.
[Francis's] gifts are quiet but his name deserves to be broadcast loudly. Nature does not go out of fashion and we need poetry of this quality more than ever. Wing, his new collection, is a joy.
Outstanding. Poignant, sensitive, intricate, witty, it captures both panorama and microcosm.
In total command of his craft . . . The whole laborious business of finding the right word has become an unhurried rhapsody. What better for this time of uncertainty and fear?
Linguistic precision sustains his new collection . . . The sense of discovery and delight is palpable.
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