Cities are as complex and unknowable as they are familiar and unsurprising. We can feel as if we know a city intimately, or merely indicate its mysteries to our fleeting perceptions. Or its mysteries can appear in and through the mundane. Cities reveal their collective ghosts through their landscapes, their histories, their people, their sounds and smells. Cities ask us to invent not only ourselves, but a view of ourselves within the cityscape we imagine.
This new prose poetry sequence from Paul Hetherington explores the power of memory and the hauntings of childhood. It takes the reader on a sensuous and richly imagistic journey into expansive ideas of self and identity. It probes and questions the nature of recollection, and how the role of the father and mother may be understood, drawing on a number of existing literary works to create elaborately poetic and deeply satisfying verbal textures.
Paul Hetherington’s long prose poem Íkaros crafts from the myth of the same name, a unique inspiration and imagination spanning multiple layers of time and consciousness, incorporating memory and dreamscapes into an exceptionally potent exploration of a journey through to self-awareness. Central to the myth of Íkaros and to this collection is the relationship between father and son portrayed by Hetherington with exquisite honesty and tenderness, at once explorative and elegiac. His vision’s complexity is expressed in clear, honed language, its fresh imagery enabling a rare and compassionate depth of insight. This is a painterly, highly visual and visceral work with compelling underlying cadences and rhythms. Hetherington gifts the reader with “a necklace of words; utterances like waves and beach-tossed stones” and a telling capacity to listen closely and to see clearly.
This prose poetry collection takes the reader through a gallery of European art, exploring modes of representation and the eddying connections between language and visual imagery. As it does so, it probes ways in which language ‘sees’, often in intimate ways. This collection also explores human history and culture, and the links between past and present—some works of art are like a form of memory and reach directly into viewers’ personal experiences. The gallery you encounter in these pages is notionally situated in Rome, but it is only fully constituted in these pages—containing, as it does, artworks on loan from elsewhere, such as Giorgione’s famous painting La Tempesta, usually housed in Venice. Although this book is made of words, it will conduct you on an unforgettable gallery tour.