This Thursday sees the official launch of my debut poetry collection Eat the Storms, from The Hedgehog Poetry Press & available to buy here on the website for signed copies & extra treats like limited edition postcards or bookmarks. Leading up to Thursday, when I will do a Facebook Live event at 8pm GMT (all are welcome), I will be sharing the blurbs from the collection from three incredible poets who very kindly said yes when I asked them to give the collection an early read. They might even feature on this week’s podcast #EatTheStorms on Spotify, Google, Anchor and many more podcast platforms.

Today I’m sharing the thoughts of Matthew M C Smith, poet & editor of Black Bough Poetry. What is Black Bough Poetry- well, the website says- publisher of micro-poems from across the worlds. Only the most compressed, the most pristine, the most vivid, make the cut. Matthew is also the creator of #TopTweetTuesday, a legendary event on Twitter every Tuesday where poets share their work & other poets show it love & tweet it all over the globe. If you have not taken part, then get your act together. Matthew, from Swansea in Wales, is the author of Origin: 21 Poems available from Amazon. He writes about landscape, place, history & identity & has been widely published because he not only supports & gives these amazing platforms to writers, but he also is an amazing writer. You may have seen photos of me holding Deep Time, Volume 1 from Black Bough Poetry recently, a poetry anthology which was no.1 on the Amazon poetry charts & inspired by Robert MacFarlane’s epic Underland. It has been one of my favourite reads this year. Volume 2 is out soon.

Matthew M C Smith on Eat The Storms…

This is a richly-suggestive, highly-vivid collection of poems, depicting a wide canvas of emotional landscapes with painter-like precision. The intensely visual aspect of Donnelly’s writing is encapsulated in ‘The Irises of our Eyes’, where the poetic speaker is caught up in a visionary experience, where nature, art and language become one. 

‘Crazed caught on canvas, caught in colour,
thought tempered in sweeping strokes-
we can be carried away in seas of grass’

It’s no surprise that Donnelly is also a painter and designer and repeated references to colour amplify and intensify emotions in rhapsodic waves of word-pictures, provoking intense feelings of joy and grief, as seen in the poignant ‘Tattered brown trousers’, where the fragilities of a father are darkly-depicted. 

‘Eat the Storms’ is a sensory reading experience, with an accessible, appealing and multi-layered voice. Each new reading reveals different shades of meaning and all the nuances of Donnelly’s lyric voice. At once tender and lyrical, there are poignant and troubling moments throughout: the pain of experience – ‘the simple route the river runs, the rustle of the red rose tipped with thorns’; the recurring motif of fragile relationships; the conflicting desires for belonging and freedom; the gut-wrenching theme of being deserted; the complexities of identity and the ever-shifting sense of self we experience – ‘beneath the red ink tipped into this flesh’. 

This is a striking, powerful collection, which achieves a balance between a personal, expansive and lyric style and the taut control needed to achieve fine poetry. 

Thank you so much Matthew.

Find Matthew’s Origin: 21 Poems on Amazon…

Find Black Bough Poetry here

Buy Deep Time here…

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