Ralph Hawkins - It Looks Like an island But Sails Away



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Ralph Hawkins - It Looks Like an island But Sails Away

Published February 2015. Paperback, 9 x 6 ins, 120pp.
ISBN 9781848614208 [Download a sample PDF from this volume here.]

“Ralph Hawkins’ poems… minimise the gap of ‘constructive effort’ between the basic seeking of pleasure and pleasurable sensations, and the “mediated” pleasure of the poem. […] He does not bother with stage-setting. Each poem launches us into a series of “direct experiences” from whose course we could work out the shape of the self experiencing them. Hawkins is not asking how experience happens, but by describing the course of a self he answers the question anyway. The course is one of attention, constantly switching on and off, jumping between planes; Hawkins’ method is to eliminate whatever is not interesting, and his poetic line is as rapid, sporadic, shifting, polyvalent, slight and self-reversing as consciousness itself. […] The removal of conventional connections leaves a vast space for originality: his style is located in the edits, the jumps.” —Andrew Duncan


Comments on previous collections:

“Hawkins is an information-snacker entertainingly on the move. Often using double-spacing, the poems seem to want the reader to leap down across the ‘missing’ rungs of their verse ladders, moving the reading experience on quickly while also conscious of such lacunae for later reflection. Syncopation and apparent nonsequitur gather a fascinating force…”

—Richard Price, Times Literary Supplement

“Hawkins is a very literary poet, very aware of the written artefact as something with a long history and a mass of material accrued to it, and determined to reinvent the whole thing. To him the poem is in no way descriptive or reflective of self or world, but a thing entirely under its own power, a dynamic theatre which creates its own reality: ‘everything the poet fakes is real’. This is a venerable belief, but with Hawkins it is only the beginning – the poem has to renew that independence to the last detail, and all forms of recognition are shattered. Syntax alone remains intact, in its usual guiding, even chatty, mode, but guides the reader only into mazes of inconsequence. Anywhere you might be is whipped away from under you; anything you might identify becomes something else.”

— Peter Riley, PN Review

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