One Thousand Nights and Counting: Selected Poems by Glyn Maxwell – review

Glyn_MaxwellGlyn Maxwell’s musicality and storytelling make for an impressive body of work. By Adam Newey

“Breath,” Glyn Maxwell wrote in these pages a few years ago, “is the key to everything. A poem that doesn’t acknowledge the limitations and strictures of the breath will fail because it is failing to make a human sound.” He was addressing the challenges, as a poet, of writing for the stage, but the same thing holds true for writing for the page. The work has to be based – where else? – in the physical body. The speaking of language and the shapes words make in the mouth, the rhythms of walking and breathing, the blood’s pulse – these are the things to which actor and poet alike must be attuned.

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