Olivia Byard’s ‘ The Wilding Eye’ reviewed

Martyn Crucefix

I confess to being unacquainted with Olivia Byard’s work before I was paired to read with her at last year’s Cheltenham Poetry Festival. We had both just had new books from the always enterprising Worple Press. I read with her again last week at Oxford’s Albion Beatnik Bookshop. I wanted to try to convey something of her methods and concerns in this blog.

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In The Wilding Eye, Worple Press have gathered new poems and others selected from Byard’s previous two collections, From a Benediction (Peterloo, 1997) and Strange Horses (Flambard, 2011). Her work ranges from vivid evocations of childhood scenes, to mythic treatments of subterranean psychic hurt, sketches of domestic exchanges, more politically engaged poems and (recently) a more expansive concern with our relationship with nature. Her work is hard to pigeon-hole but acclaim from the likes of Les Murray and Bernard O’Donoghue is well deserved.

Some of those hyper-lit…

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