The Fifth, and for now, most recent, review of Landings appeared on the High Window Press Website at the end of last year.
Sydney Whiteside completed her review by summarising: Landings gracefully articulates anxieties about the future, though these fears are balanced by an uncompromising sense of hopefulness. Williams grounds philosophical musings in brilliant, concrete detail. He evokes the history and topography of Portsmouth with confidence and honesty. The poems in Landings champion the power of memory, uniquely and powerfully reimagining the intricate city Williams calls home.
You can read the full review amongst the other Winter 2019 reviews here (including a few books I need to order myself!) here: https://thehighwindowpress.com/category/reviews/
The High Window is a quarterly review of poetry which, for its first twelve issues was co-edited by David Cooke and Anthony Costello. It now continues under the sole editordship of David. Its aims are wide-ranging and non-partisan. It publishes work in English by new and established poets from The UK and around the world. Alongside a lively and eclectic mix of poetry, each new issue contains an editorial, a literary essay, a selection of poems in translation, poetry reviews and occasional features. You can subscribe (for free of course) here: https://thehighwindowpress.com/about-2/
The fourth, and as I write, last but one, review of Landings, was by Greg Freeman for the Write Out Loud website. Greg finished the review with the following summary; yes, this is a collection about trains, and boats, and stadiums, and even stationery. But Richard Williams is capable of looking much further and often does; he has his eye beyond the shore of his “city by the sea”, gazing out to the horizon.
You can read the review here: https://www.writeoutloud.net/public/blogentry.php?blogentryid=91579
Write Out Loud is an excellent resource for articles, competition listings and plenty of poetry collection reviews – have a trawl here: https://www.writeoutloud.net/
The third review of Landings appeared in South Magazine issue 59. As South is a print only publication the review can’t be found online, so I am copying the whole review here in full.
Landings – Richard Williams Dempsey & Windle 57 pp £8.00 (ISBN 978-1-907435-591)
Language in this memorable collection is both precise and lyrical. In The Feng Shui shop on Fratton Road the area is bright with “sleet and oil and rainbows”. In Lighting up the chiminea the poet urges us to turn our backs on “the dying of the sun” and “mellow the dark in an orange glow” while remembering “Soft memories of gold” and allowing words to “dance to our shadows” before “terracotta turns cold”. There is a strong sense of place in this poem as there is throughout the collection, an emphasis on “this dusty earth,/this Hampshire chalk, these rolling fields” – all of which are being eroded as the past sifts “through our hands”.
Dust is an image that predominates. Landings begins with poems (The King of stationery and Contents of the loft of an eBay trader) which present a landscape, part rural, part suburban, where things are shrinking and marginal, missing, out of date, unused or discontinued.
The world is also getting smaller in a remarkable prose piece (It was only his second ever day of being seven) where the current affairs the father reads about in a newspaper are juxtaposed with images of sweets and drinks that appeal to his young son. Eventually these images shrink to the size of a “small globe of sugar” which resembles “a ball of light at the beginning of time” and which the child, dipping back his head, swallows whole.
‘Landings’ is a strong collection of poems filled with nostalgia and sadness at loss. There is urgency too, a need to hang on to what is left and even to try and “restock futures left discarded” in a different ocean “full of fish and full of light.” (Map-making). A perfect image of hope. Mandy Pannett
South is a long established magazine from the southern counties of England. More information can be found here: http://www.southpoetry.org/
The second review for my first poetry collection appeared on the Star & Crescent website, and previously the Portsmouth University Eldon Review.
Georgina Monk’s review was published in October 2018. It finished with the following summary; In Landings, Williams has created a new poetic map of Portsmouth based on a fascinating inner life lived in a city by the sea. You can read the review here: https://www.starandcrescent.org.uk/2018/10/29/richard-williams-landings-a-new-poetic-map-of-portsmouth/
Star and Crescent is a Portsmouth based award-winning local independent news website. Worth a look if you are interested in stories and opinions that for whatever reason don’t get picked up by more mainstream media.
One reason for having this blog is to collect together any online references to my writing, including reviews – whilst I don’t have any particular expectation of making my fame and fortune from poetry it is nice to have somewhere to put them!
The first review I had for my first collection was by David Green – who I previously worked with as joint editor of an edition of South Magazine. His review appeared on his online blog a short time after the book’s official launch at the Square Tower in Portsmouth.
David was very kind to write a review so quickly and to be so positive in his review of Landings, Commenting that “One great advantage of publishing a first collection in one’s fifties is that there is still everything to select from so it comes as no surprise that Richard Williams’s first book doesn’t look like a debut and hits the ground very sure-footedly”.
If you are interested you can read it here: https://davidgreenbooks.blogspot.com/search/label/Richard%20Williams
I’ll post other reviews here, and will have a permanent page set up with reviews and links to my work. I’m sure that after a short while I’ll have everything up and this can then be a more rounded blog with less of a look at me sensibility!