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Book Review: 04:01:19

by Michael Curtis

Our reviewer finds history is told in the 'best way' in Michael Curtis' poetry collection: Family Likeness

Family Likeness by Michael Curtis is a family history that also gives a view of the 20th century through the eyes of the poet.


In the hands of a lesser poet this could have slipped into mawkish sentimentality but Curtis, a writer who is in my opinion at the height of his powers, knows how to step back with the right amount of detachment and view the archive, knowing when to state his feelings and when to report what he and his immediate ancestors have experienced as he shows in the poem: 'Nellie': “Me? Well, I had to stay lyrical, tied to the pull of rhyming memory / with what can’t be seen / crooning to the you I /  never knew down / these accidental years / from an upstairs room”.


He is a little older than me, but I (being a baby boomer,) recognise the post-war world that he shows us in the long sequence titled 'Twelve' with references to Dan Dare and Corgi toys, to his visits to The Cavern in the early 1960s. This is history told in the best way, as someone once said of Eduardo Galeano: History told upwards from the bottom, from the street.

Get it:

Michael Curtis  – Family Likeness

Cultured Llama, Sept 2018

Buy from Cultured Llama 

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