Using a wide variety of styles and tones, the strands of poems in A Smell of Fish radiate like the spores of a wheel- haiku, sestinas, poems about foreign travel, verses beginning with a line by someone else, a sea sequence set in Alderburgh and - long overdue - Matthew Sweeney's own version of the Old Irish poem 'Sweeney'. In this, his seventh collection, we are back in a world of mysterious clarity, of an alternative realism that is as playful as it is unsettling- we are shown a blue dyed chihuahua, a recipe for roadkill, second-world-war fighter planes appearing over London, a fatally constipated bull elephant, and a subterranean tunnel that runs the length of Ireland. Whatever the subject, we are in the confident hands of one of the most imaginatively gifted poets now writing.
Matthew Sweeney was born in Donegal and has lived in London for many years. He has published six previous collections of poetry for adults and four books for children. He has co-edited two anthologies- Beyond Bedlam (with Ken Smith) and Emergency Kit (with Jo Shapcott).