PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Mark FordLetters And So It Goes
Letters from Young Mr Grace
(aka John Ashbery)

(PN Review 239)
Henry Kingon Toby Martinez de las Rivas
(PN Review 244)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
M. Wynn ThomasThe Other Side of the Hedge
(PN Review 239)
Next Issue Fire and Tears: a meditation, VAHNI CAPILDEO Grodzinksi’s Kosher Bakery and other poems, MICHAEL BRETT Vienna, MARIUS KOCIEJOWSKI In conversation with John Ash, JEFFREY KAHRS Play it all the way through, first – but slowly, KIRTSY GUNN
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
Monthly Carcanet Books
PN Review Blog

This review is taken from PN Review 66, Volume 15 Number 4, March - April 1989.

A WHOLE DESIGN Jeremy Hooker, Master of the Leaping Figures, Enitharmon Press, £5.00 pb

At the threshold of Jeremy Hooker's new collection stands the representative figure of a medieval scribe, the 'Master of the Leaping Figures' of the volume's title, an artist engaged in the task - which is, of course, the poet's too - of 'illuminating the Word'. Transcending the limitations of brute humanity and of his own moment in history, the Master reaches back through time to the cultures of 'Rome, / Byzantium, Ireland / and the Viking north', outward beyond the world's potentially restrictive horizons and, assuming an explicitly prophetic role, forward into the future; he is


      the prophet who is one
fire with the horses of fire,
blazing against the blue
of a midsummer night-sky
with a rim of gold;
a man barely contained
by the frame holding him
who leaps in flesh of flame
in a world on fire, burning
in the mantle that he passes on.


Hooker's identification with the Master is clear: as he himself delineates a figure who 'leaps in flesh of flame', he fuses with his own creation and, by implication, takes up the proffered mantle. Like the scribe, he suggests, the poet is a focus for energies not entirely his own, a node at which the apparently disparate fragments of the universe converge and are given relationship and meaning; and it is in this conception of his own calling, in his concern to express his Blakean ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image