• David J Costello

Poetry from the Small Presses - Ric Hool

It is a real privilege to have been invited to curate the first ever Poetry from the Small Presses event for the Wirral Poetry Festival 2019. To be honest I've enjoyed indulging myself in my personal choice of six poets representing various publoishers of poetry from the small presses.

Over the next few weeks leading up to the event itself I'll be blogging about each of the participants continuing with Ric Hool, the fourth of the six.

I hope it will whet the appetite and encourage you to come along! Tickets can be booked on-line using the following link:

I hope to see you there!

Poetry from the Small Presses

Birkenhead Town Hall Hamilton Square Birkenhead, CH41 5BR

Saturday 11 May 2019, 2pm

Tickets: £5 (under 18 years free)

Ric has been running the poetry venue at Hen and Chicks in Abergavenny for more years than he probably cares to remember! I met him there for the first time there a couple of years ago when I read with Sheila Templeton as part of our Red Squirrel tour of Wales. If you ever get the chance to visit I can highly recommend it.

This time around, however, the focus is on Ric's words. As a taster, hre's a sneak peak at his bio:

Ric Hool has 9 collections of published poetry and has his work featured in poetry magazines & journals in Europe, USA & UK.

He was the Welsh Academy poet for the Abergavenny Food Festival 2009 and also Academy poet representative for the South Bank London Global Poetry System 2009.

In 2014 he was tutor delivering workshops as part of Literature Wales’ Developing Dylan Project.

The first British publication of Last Fair Deal Gone Down, a docu-story conflating the lives of the author, seminal blues singer/guitarist Robert Johnson and Eric Clapton, originally published in Fulcrum No. 6 (Annual of Poetry & Aesthetics) USA, can be viewed on Junction Box 6:

His poetic themes are the psychological and geographical impact of place and space on the human experience. Water is a totem, poured from place to place and from experience to experience: an agent of informing.

A new collection Personal Archaeology is to be published May 2020

Ric Hool is from Northumberland but lives in Wales.

Selected Publications: Fitting in with Malcolm (WYSIWYG Chapbooks, 1994) Making It (Collective Press, 1998) The Bridge (Collective Press, 2000) Voice from a Correspondent (Collective Press, 2001) No Nothing (The Collective Press, 2009) Selected Poems (Red Squirrel Press 2013) A Way of Falling Upwards (Cinnamon Press2014) Hut (Woodenhead Press pamphlet 2016) Between So Many Words (Red Squirrel Press May 2016)

Anthologies: Tilt (Collective Press, 1996) By Grand Central Station We Sat Down & Wept (Red Squirrel Press 2010) Double Bill (Red Squirrel Press 2014) At Time’s Edge (The Vaughan Association 2016)

No Nothing (The Collective Press, 2009) The word that most characterises this collection is ‘fluidity’. Water is a through-line, as river, as sea, as trope of the imagination, as supple use of language. And if water is the central element, then winter is the season that Ric Hool seems most at home in, with its ‘yin’ qualities of darkness, receptivity, liminality and the music of weather. However, themes such as space, mapping and music trickle through the book like a stream. Fiona Owen

Other Reviews

Ric Hool’s homage to Northumberland ‘Revista Rudiments’ captures its unruly history, from when it was a northern outpost of the Roman Empire to the Meadow Well Riots of September 1991and through the figure of Ranter poet, Barry MacSweeney. The narrator walks the ground, hearing the sound of the land, noting the birdsong and long stories with ‘a confluence of telling / Unthank opportunists / set up camp / plough-breaker Swarland / & / Wind-cutter Snitter. The poem reaches beyond evocation to deeper historical and geographical viewpoints, and the area’s distinctiveness. It is a powerful sequence open to a number of registers and echoes. David Caddy (Editor of Tears in the Fence)

In ‘Hut’ Ric Hool’s contrast between ‘within & outside himself’ become in that poem’s second stanza (and I use that word advisedly thinking of its own derivation from the Italian for a room) ‘A place of shelter / & invention & / close to the wildwood’. The contrasts between shelter and danger which are contained within the purposes of building a hut… In ‘Hut 3: Castles & Cabins’ the poet contemplates that space between the self and the other, ‘within & outside himself’, and wonders what might warm a man whose separation from the outside world has been emphasised by a closed door. The conclusion to these contemplations is a trust in language. Ian Brinton (Co-Editor of SNOW)

Ric Hool’s poems are acts of poetic thinking, as the walk (in fact or imaginatively) produces steps in the journey of language. The resulting style has staccato effects to which a reader must adapt; the effort is worth it, for Hool’s poems are adventures of discovery for poet and reader alike. The relationship between the inner and outer, beginning with the influence of the Northumbrian coast upon the child, was decisive in Hool’s imagination, and plays out in his frequent recourse to water as setting and metaphor. In reading Ric Hool’s poetry one becomes aware of a man’s life in time and place. Jeremy Hooker (Poet & Critic)

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