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LISTEN

BBC Arts Extra: 13 Jan 2011

Paul is interviewed by Marie-Louise Muir: they discuss his writing and inspiration, and he reads two poems from Latch.

READ

Ulster Tatler Book Of The Month: July 2011

Books Ireland: Feb 2011

Belfast Telegraph Weekend Magazine: 1 Jan 2011

Verbal Magazine No 34: Dec 2010

Gloucester Citizen: 7 Dec 2010

Lagan Press: Nov 2010

X


ULSTER TATLER BOOK OF THE MONTH

July 2011

LATCH by Paul Jeffcutt.
Lagan Press Poetry (£9.99)

A POWERFUL DEBUT

Paul Jeffcutt, after featuring in several journals and anthologies from the UK, Ireland, Australia and the USA as well as being a long-standing member of the Writer's Group at the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry in Belfast, has recently published his debut poetry collection.

Latch is a selection of poetry which touches on many themes and stretches across a vast geological backdrop. 'Homestead', the opening poem, works as a very effective and gripping introduction to the collection. Whilst the title invites connotations of a warm and comforting home place, the content paints a picture of an abandoned house which is slowly being overrun and reclaimed by nature. Jeffcutt's vivid descriptions effortlessly allow the reader to conjure the scene in their mind and in essence place themselves within the homestead he depicts.

The collection as a whole is very emotionally engaging. Both 'Deserts' and 'Still' are painfully honest accounts of his father's time in hospital. 'Deserts' artfully contrasts two versions of his father: the young tank commander who endured desert battles across the world, and the old man who is fighting a personal battle for his life against illness. 'Still' employs very stark and visual language. Although the poem is short, each word is purposely used, which has optimum impact on the reader.

The range of subjects varies greatly throughout Latch, from 'Scars', which recounts a childhood incident in which the narrator was thrown over the handlebars of a bicycle, to 'Albie's Phantom', which was inspired by the life of Justice Albie Sachs, a judge on the Constitutional Court of South Africa who lost his arm and his sight in one eye when a bomb was placed in his car by South African security agents in Mozambique. Although the collection sweeps through such themes as family, childhood, politics, history, the natural world, loss and love, what unifies them all is Jeffcutt's exceptional use of language.

Although borne out of the everyday, Jeffcutt can deftly manipulate language to striking effect. 'Albie's Phantom' is told from the perspective of Justice Albie Sachs' missing limb. The contrast of the personified limb, which exudes anger and bitterness, juxtaposed with the forgiving stance of Justice Albie Sachs, results in a poem which is both powerful and fascinating.

Latch is a wonderful debut collection from a very talented poet. The tone is confident and assured, the content is thought provoking and as a whole it stokes passion and emotion within the reader. From start to finish Latch is an engaging read which leaves you wanting more.

Kellie Chambers