Eleanor Hooker’s second collection of poems sees her move increasingly beyond the confines of home into a more profound relationship with the elements. Images of house and home besieged by storms (“Rain pushes under slates / and spits on the floor”) open into poems where the poet discovers new versions of herself in the mirror of lake water, in the reflections language makes possible, if not inevitable.
The haunting and haunted atmosphere of her first collection, The Shadow Owner’s Companion, is still very much in evidence, and there is a dramatic impulse in the work not commonly found in contemporary Irish verse. This new work reveals a poet who has grown immeasurably in confidence, increasingly sure-footed in negotiating external as well as internal worlds, all the while managing to balance her trademark flickering candle-lit lyrics with found poems, poems that appropriate the mood and tone of Sense and Sensibility, and, among the finest here, poems that see her follow that “tug of blue” out into the beauty, and very real dangers, of “open water”.
“[A book| teeming with both major and minor poems of really notable excellence and quirky intelligence. Hooker has a brilliantly nurtured and culturally stretched imagination. The Shadow Owner’s Companion is a wonderful collection of poems.” — Thomas McCarthy