Campbell’s volume of poetry consists of 42 poems written over 3 years, demonstrating a sustained and intense research effort to produce a complex work of creative writing. Through poetry that engages with contemporary society through the guise of pastoral poetics, historical narrative and Irish mythology, this collection demonstrates the undertaking of an extended and multi-layered process of creative investigation. The extraordinary range of individual poem titles and the variety of subject matter evidences the investigation of the given themes in considerable depth, from different perspectives, and in relation to a range of political, social and cultural contexts.
Reserve for an output with double weighting
Heat Signature posits that only the rigorous, attentive and less-deceived lyric will be able to pitch art and imagination fully against the rhetoric of power and its abuses.
In question here is how to write a lyric poem which recognises the importance of social reality to the contexts of art, but which still implies the capacity of the artwork to transcend that reality. The poems emerge from key strands of Irish poetics but also fiercely resist that idiom, moving to transnationalise the socially-aware lyric poem so that it becomes able to deal with the pressures and experiences of how we all live now. This is achieved via disruption of, as well as reverence for, the tradition. Through playful shifts of tone along with a polyphonic approach, received notions of who has the authority to ‘tell’ certain stories are problematised. The work experiments with forms including the pantoum and sonnet and re-animates the shaping forms of pastoral, elegy and love poem. Interrogating what the ‘nature poem’ must become, an answer emerges through poems in which nature (including human nature) is compromised or ambiguous but with an embedded counter-argument via a muscular poetic line and musicality. This dialectic approach lends a dramatic quality which is essential to the overriding research question above. Moving beyond the debate of ‘personal vs political’, this work creates a new paradigm of poetics as it recognises that the shared social/artistic moment is made of both. Taught on curricula in the US and appearing in British Council outreach, this poetry offers new ways of speaking to our present dilemmas. The role of the lyric poem is under pressure in world poetics and this book, in imagistic and exploratory ways, implies that lyric art can indeed enable us to imagine different alternatives and futures.