Personal Archaeology | Ric Hool
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 1991 and 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.
‘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. ‘
‘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.’
‘Ric Hool’s ability to merge the physical, via sensual imagery and a sense of colour, with a more cerebral approach is well-evolved and makes his poems so readable on a variety of levels. They are far more than one-dimensional sketches of time and place.’
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