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Imprint: Anvil Press Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (96 pages)
(Pub. Nov 2014)
Lord of Storms
Back from the coast, on a breezy hill, there’s a heaving
Vritra had sucked up every last drop, so we must thank
Of jungle spilling down a cleft hewn between deserts
And blue. We look into the pupil of the night,
Doesn’t it flow at different rates in different parts
from Silent Highway: Pocahontas
Thus the river sanctions love and lust
The centrepiece of Silent Highway is the title-poem which celebrates the role of the river Thames in the life of London. It is written as a sequence that looks at history and the present: from Pocahontas’s voyage to the arrival of the Windrush bringing immigrants from Jamaica, the mysterious death of Roberto Calvi and the Marchioness disaster, via the Fire of London and many incidents in which the river has been spectator or participant. Howell’s mix of verse styles and skill with cameos ensures that interest never flags.
In other poems he demonstrates his pleasure in avoiding the predictable and in writing on a wide variety of subjects. Among the many poems of place, in which he excels, are some disturbing descriptions of modern Britain; in the final section, poems inspired by a winter spent in Brazil, he has surprises in store, such as the witty (and true) poem ‘In Praise of Shopping’.
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