Thursday 1 July 2010

Another appreciative review of The Tethers in New Welsh Review

When a review of The Tethers shows close reading and subsequent understanding, I feel heartened and encouraged. Sarah Wardle's review in the summer issue of New Welsh Review is such a one (others include Paul Batchelor in The Times, Richard Gwyn in Poetry Wales, and Ben Wilkinson in the TLS). I'll quote the last few paragraphs here and refer you to the magazine for the complete article.

"In places the word choice is archaic: vocabulary includes ‘cherish’, ‘yearn’, ‘forebore’ and ‘nay’; but her fondness for such language fits with her at times Shakespearian inflexion. She deploys elevated diction, as in ‘asseverated your sincerity without reserve’, and in places uses academic discourse to interesting effect: ‘There is a London winter hermeneutic at work/ well into April’. In general, her raised diction and meditative cadence succeed in capturing the register and rhythm of the mind’s pensive voice, as at the close of ‘The Honeymoon of Our Attraction’: ‘Of the wave’s surge I know only/ I stand soddened.’

"Elsewhere, she can write with startling clarity and imagery, as in ‘Biopsy’: ‘This is my body. This is my heart,/ standing aside like a child at the zoo’; and in the fine lines which close the collection from ‘The World at Dusk’: ‘When at last I walked to the postbox, afternoon/ was everywhere. I had decades to live’.

"This book will be enjoyed by a readership that is both general and academic, and on either side of the Atlantic. Carrie Etter’s poetry stems from strong geographical roots and, unlike some contemporary poets, she shows an awareness of her literary heritage. Dedicated to her late father, The Tethers is a fine tribute and promising debut, filled with intelligent observation and written with precision."


  1. I've been following all your reviews and saw that you made the recent longlist -- just wanted to say congrats on it all. The Tethers is a wonderful collection. I've completely enjoyed reading it, and feel terrible that I've neglected telling you so for so long.

  2. There's no reason to feel terrible, Sue! Thanks so much for telling me--I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

  3. Anonymous8:08 am

    Of all the reviews I've, read, Carrie, this one strikes a very pleasureable chord with me and is in tune with my own response to the tenor and atmosphere of the whole collection.

    In my (not wholly unbiased!) opinion it is a quality work well-deserving of the attention and exciting prize-listing place it has earned, and there will be many who, along with HRE, will be delighted that The Tethers' future forecast is undoubtedly set fair. Here's to further congratulations and even louder applause, we hope, very soon!

    H xx