How The Hell Are You
A new collection from Glyn Maxwell – one of the great poetic stylists of the era, and one of its leading dramatic voices – is always a cause for celebration.
Here, there are squibs and satires, lyrics and songs, poems written to family members and in memory of loved ones, a series of poems written by an artificial intelligence that will thrill and disturb in equal measure, and a chance for the blank page to finally speak for itself. But How The Hell Are You is, in its way, also a quietly political book: Maxwell regards poetry as truth-telling, and these poems – in their intimate, unsparing accounts and clear-eyed reckonings – recoil from the lies and fake news of the age to actually ‘tell it like it is’. How The Hell Are You shows a remarkable imagination and mind working at full tilt, and is the most powerful expression of Maxwell’s talent to date.
Formally dextrous, syntactically inventive, able to combine authentic emotion with self-reflexive dramatisation: for those in the know, a Maxwell collection is an event
A master stylist who shoots from the lip, Maxwell has a range and brio, from elegy to AI, that is constantly erudite and exhilarating
Carol Ann Duffy