Adolf of Gloucester goes to the Wall

This is Part 3 of LIAM GUILAR's still-being-written epic of Britain. Chapter 1 was published in Long Poem Magazine #25 Spring 2021, and you can read Chapter 2 in the previous issue of The Brazen Head. The story so far: 449 AD. The Roman province of Britannia is tottering. The Legions have long gone and…

Rewriting the Middle Ages

LIAM GUILAR likes a radical reimagining of a venerable Welsh work Isolated in Aber Cuawg Harry Gilonis, Oystercatcher Press, 2020, 19 pages ‘Claf Abercuawg’ is a Welsh poem composed perhaps in the ninth century. Claf, as a noun, means a sick person, a patient or a leper . Abercuawg is an area of north…

The once and un-killable king

King Arthur: The Making of a Legend Nicholas J. Higham, Yale University Press, 2018, 380 pages LIAM GUILAR marvels to see a sledgehammer being wielded against castles-in-the-air People in Britain have been telling stories about an ‘Arthur’ since at least the 9th century, possibly earlier. In the Middle Ages, those stories include some of the…

Shores, stars…and unmade beds

Bethesda Constellations, Peter Hughes, Oystercatcher Press, 2020 28 pages The Celestial Set-Up, Zoë Skoulding, Oystercatcher Press, 2020, 24 pages LIAM GUILAR combs through two new poetry pamphlets Oystercatcher Press is one of the many small presses keeping poetry alive and well and providing readers with the opportunity to sample a writer’s work for a relatively…

Scenes from a closely-observed life

Still Life, Ciaran Carson, Wake Forest University Press, 2019, 88 pages LIAM GUILAR relishes - and mourns - a unique talent There’s a picture of Ciaran Carson on the back cover of Still Life. He’s sitting on a bench seat. Tall buildings, trees and streetlights provide a diminishing perspective taking the eye towards an approaching…