A review of Antony Owen’s Margaret Thatcher’s Museum. (Hesterglock Press 2015) by John Davies .. That black leg Easter you wept, Thatcher glided by in a Daimler, Like spit on union coats. The littl…

Source: The bird that sings in winter – a Review of Antony Owen’s ‘Margaret Thatcher’s Museum’ by John Davies

Antony Owen – Margaret Thatchers Museum.

reviews / vitae

Posted: June 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

REVIEWS

The year I loved England by Antony Owen & Joseph Horgan (Pighog Press, 2014) £10.99 +p&p

http://www.munsterlit.ie/Southword/Issues/27/year_england.html

Margaret Thatcher’s Museum by Antony Owen (Hesterglock Press, 2015)* £6 + p&p

*new* review by the morning star

http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-9a79-Intricate-verse-forms-out-of-plain-speech#.Vk8OPf0nzIU

*new*

https://iamnotasilentpoet.wordpress.com/2015/10/29/the-bird-that-sings-in-winter-a-review-of-antony-owens-margaret-thatchers-museum-by-john-davies/comment-page-1/#comment-1079

http://herecomeseveryone.me/atrocity-exhibition-a-review-of-margaret-thatchers-museum/

http://sabotagereviews.com/2015/08/23/margaret-thatchers-museum-by-antony-owen/

http://www.stridemagazine.co.uk/Stride%20mag%202015/aug%202015/REBEL%20ANGELS.htm

The Dreaded Boy by Antony Owen (Pighog Press, 2011) £5 + p&p

Review here: http://ruthstacey.com/2014/10/12/the-dreaded-boy/

My Father’s Eyes Were Blue by Antony Owen(Heaventree Press, 2009) £8 +p&p

Review here: http://johnfield.org/2012/12/28/the-unforgettable-fire-anthony-owens-my-fathers-eyes-were-blue/

Comments on Margaret Thatcher’s Museum:

“I think the poems are full of sharp images and pungent comments, well done and good luck with writing more”.

KEN LOACH

“Stunning poems, no time for scones in Owen’s world”

LEANNE BRIDGEWATER

“Antony Owen writes in a surprising, compelling way about the Britain left in Margaret Thatcher’s wake. The visceral heartbreak behind his words has the energy of a Springsteen. The collection is a patchwork of cultural detail – so much so, in fact, I get the impression of a mind crammed to bursting: there is pressure here. And appropriately. But, just when you think you know what you’re getting, a phrase warps off in an unexpected heartfelt direction. These are moments, for me, that catch the light like shattered fragments. ‘In the half-light I notice you completely’, he says. Crucially, it’s his chronicling of the beauty and love amongst the debris that lifts the work, and lets it sing.”

CHARLOTTE GANN

“This is as urgent and contemporary as it gets, this is righteous anger and truly contemporary poetry that mixes the personal and political:”

STRIDE MAGAZINE

“A stirring pamphlet of contemporary poetry, at once scathing, damning and life-affirming on the state of modern Britain viewed through the scope of history. In poetic terms, Antony’s writing seems to run a course, parallel to that of Shane Meadows’ early films and his continuing television work of This Is England; the flipside of the day-glo, yuppie success bleeding into excess, scenes from cities forgotten by industry, and commemorated only as victims.”

SILHOUETTE PRESS

“The strength in these poems is their lack of ranting or of self-pity. They acknowledge the difficulties Thatcher’s government policies created, without preaching and without demanding that the reader takes sides. Overall, Margaret Thatcher’s Museum compassionately curates, recording rather than ranting its anger, reminding readers that those cast on the unemployment scrap-heap were humans, not statistics”

SABOTAGE REVIEWS

Comments THE YEAR I LOVED ENGLAND (Pighog Press) A Owen & J Horgan

“George Szirtes once said that there’s always a little cold wind in a good poem. Well, there’s a cold wind blowing right through ‘The Year I Loved England’, which reflects a bitter, reluctant attachment to place.”

SOUTHWORD JOURNAL

“It’s easy to understand why a poet might want each poem in a collaboration like this individually credited. However, Horgan and Owen’s approach is more egalitarian  – their poems stand side by side, 2 Tone, brothers. As far right politicians like Marine Le Pen offer their public easy scapegoats, this collection offers an urgent, contemplative, inclusive, optimistic vision.”

JOHN FIELD

“The objectives I wrote down whilst reading ‘The Year I Loved England’: evocative, poignant, surprising, funny, questioning and relevant. The wonderful economy of words remind me of poetry as condensed literature. Great stuff.”

HORACE PANTER (aged ska legend,)

“This poetry expresses poignantly the emotions that I at times find difficult to articulate. The words pierced my soul and brought back the images, emotions and feelings of those days in August 2011 when Britain burnt.”

TARIQ JAHAN

‘Strong and moving and real. The Year I Loved England has a Jack Kerouac feel of beat beauty.’

FRED VOSS

This powerful collection offers a vision of the middle of England. This is in direct contrast to the Middle England the mainstream political parties and media have made so much noise about for a generation. “My city lost its voice today,” goes a line in Coventry Street. Joseph Horgan and Antony Owen’s poems seek to regain that voice in some sense: a voice that is layered, elegiac, plural, and clear-sighted about the pain that much of this country is forced to endure while others look on.

There is much pain in these poems, and a desire to escape from that pain, “people in the sky are falling up” says the opening poem Address, which turns a midlands street into a Chagall dreamscape. “Tonight I’ll walk you home to the sky…wish upon stars of a 747” says The Dreamer of Samuel Vale House.

For all the dreams of weightlessness, though, “anchors to childhood are heavy/sometimes they drown us” explains the The Little Things Destroy Us. And so they do. And the big things too – economic catastrophe, family history, race, migration, war, the accidents of geography – as these poems show us. The childhood anchors in question come from the 1980s, the decade in which much of the West Midlands, and the rest of the country’s industrial areas, were turned to ruin. Thatcher appears once, she glides “by in a Daimler”, a car made, of course, in the Coventry she attempts to destroy. But the roots are deep, Churchill is here also, an architect of a “city made by flames”; “what will you weave for Dresden from Coventry’s stone elbows?” asks the poem Fat Man. These are voices of England aligned with the powerless on all fronts.

In the beautiful title poem, “…a man left the house/and returned unmade from the smokeless factory.”

From Samuel Vale House today we watch, “bored kids re-open the factory/admire their work where there is none.”

This loss is the anchor which drowns people in these poems, the landscape too, “hills had their backs broken” explains Ghost Town, a poem that echoes The Specials’ lament, and, with its haiku stanzas, references the Coventry Nissan plant, and a new economic world order. And yet the drowned voices are here. We hear them throughout this collection, which is one of the reasons it is important, The Dreamer of Samuel Vale House or the narrator who tells us “at the back of my house there are wild dogs” in Compline. This voice also tells us “I’ll wait for partisans”, and it is in this sense of defiance and endurance that some hint of redemption comes. “I still have hope between my teeth,” we are told in Place.

The Year I Loved England is rooted in place. The damaged terrain and the battered emotions become one, “a map of everything there’s ever been” says The Curve of Chaos. This moving collection also offers some answers to its own complex, layered question, “Where is here anyway?”, with answers that are both sensitive and vivid, in the voices of an England that it seems too many people have decided is too hard to love.

ANTHONY CARTWRIGHT

The Year I Loved England exemplifies the recently rediscovered tendency toward collaboration in contemporary poetic practice. For its authors’ sensibilities fuse and mesh in felicitous synergy, interweaving like helixes in which we find coded not only a most articulate rage but also a dark playfulness, white-hot anger tempered by a delicate lyric touch.  In these thrilling poems –unflinchingly bleak but unfailingly alive- a city is manufactured from flames, freedom is figured in a job application and beauty resides in a two-tone urban morning. Horgan and Owen indict England for unforgivable failures both foreign and domestic while hinting at a country that might yet be.  This is work marked by fury and frustration but also by a stubborn and beleaguered love.

BILLY RAMSELL

Comments on THE DREADED BOY (Pighog Press, 2011)

War and its horror is explained with control, sensitivity, intelligence and an abiding compassion. The use of imagery is impressive, fresh and at times surprising. A strong technical craft is displayed.

Brendan Cleary

Owen is only one of a handful of younger poets unafraid to write for these violent times. This is an uncompromising and timely poetic intervention, one that consolidates a serious talent.

Billy Ramsell

He weaves the shocking with the unseen, subtle destructions of the ordinary. The Dreaded Boy is at once requiem and indictment, elegy and plea.

Paul Casey

The most beautiful collection of poetry I have read all year.

Fatima Al Matar

Brilliant !

Pighog Press

Antony Owen’s poetry should be taught on the curriculum. Both of his collections are two of the bravest and finest poetry publications of the past few years. If the distilled art of poetry is to mean anything in these times, it will be voices like Owen’s that make it so

Joseph Horgan

The Dreaded Boy is not meant to be an advert for subtle nuance. The themes are huge and they’re tackled head-on.

Matthew Stewart

Comments on MY FATHER’S EYES WERE BLUE (Heaventree Press)

Owen’s poems seem to free-fall conjuring an irresistible sense of unease.

The way he manages tragedy is utterly beautiful & and the unashamed frailty that meanders through

his collection is very much its strength.

My Father’s Eyes Were Blue has proven that Owen is no one trick pony as this collection is underpinned by a brutality which Owen understates superbly!

Bernadette Cremin

Antony Owen is a startling new voice in British poetry. Forceful, urgent and sometimes shocking images belie a beguiling tenderness, which is rooted in Owen’s clear admiration for honest, hardworking people. What attracts me most in these poems is the focus Owen gives to not-too-distant history, drawing our attention to hidden stories and characters, and detailing the highs and lows of post-War and post-industrial Britain.

Michael McKimm

In his impressive debut collection, My Father’s Eyes Were Blue, Antony Owen’s approach to the often difficult subject of war is sensitive, dramatic and thoroughly contemporary.”

Jacqui Rowe, Flarestack Press

An affecting first collection tinged with melancholy and leavened with moments of black humour.

Jonathan Morley

C O L L E C T I O N S:

Margaret Thatcher’s Museum by Antony Owen (Hesterglock Press, 2015)

The year I loved England by Antony Owen & Joseph Horgan (Pighog Press, 2014)

The Dreaded Boy (Pighog Press, 2011)

My Father’s Eyes Were Blue (Heaventree Press, 2009)

G E N R E / T A G S
War, urban, love, loss, conflict, multi-cultural, peace, explorative, poignant, hard hitting,
uncompromising.

A W A R D S & E X H I B I T I O N S
Wilfred Owen Story – 2011 poetry competition finalist
The Shine Journal – 2010 poetry competition finalist
The Hiroshima International Peace Museum, 2013 (exhibition of poetry inc photgraphy by Daniel O’Toole)
Hiroshima exhibition at Chapel of Unity, (Coventry Cathedral) 2012

THE YEAR I LOVED ENGLAND available to buy at http://www.pighog.co.uk/titles/the-year-i-loved-england.html

“The objectives I wrote down whilst reading ‘The Year I Loved England’: evocative, poignant, surprising, funny, questioning and relevant. The wonderful economy of words remind me of poetry as condensed literature. Great stuff.”

HORACE PANTER (aged ska legend,)

“This poetry expresses poignantly the emotions that I at times find difficult to articulate. The words pierced my soul and brought back the images, emotions and feelings of those days in August 2011 when Britain burnt.”

TARIQ JAHAN

‘Strong and moving and real. The Year I Loved England has a Jack Kerouac feel of beat beauty.’

FRED VOSS

The Year I Loved England exemplifies the recently rediscovered tendency toward collaboration in contemporary poetic practice. For its authors’ sensibilities fuse and mesh in felicitous synergy, interweaving like helixes in which we find coded not only a most articulate rage but also a dark playfulness, white-hot anger tempered by a delicate lyric touch.  In these thrilling poems –unflinchingly bleak but unfailingly alive- a city is manufactured from flames, freedom is figured in a job application and beauty resides in a two-tone urban morning. Horgan and Owen indict England for unforgivable failures both foreign and domestic while hinting at a country that might yet be.  This is work marked by fury and frustration but also by a stubborn and beleaguered love.

BILLY RAMSELL

Reviews of THE DREADED BOY available to buy at http://www.pighog.co.uk/titles/the-dreaded-boy.html

Owen is only one of a handful of younger poets unafraid to write for these violent times. This is an uncompromising and timely poetic intervention, one that consolidates a serious talent.

Billy Ramsell

War and its horror is explained with control, sensitivity, intelligence and an abiding compassion. The use of imagery is impressive, fresh and at times surprising. A strong technical craft is displayed.

Brendan Cleary

He weaves the shocking with the unseen, subtle destructions of the ordinary. The Dreaded Boy is at once requiem and indictment, elegy and plea.

Paul Casey

The most beautiful collection of poetry I have read all year.

Fatima Al Matar

Brilliant !

Pighog Press

Antony Owen’s poetry should be taught on the curriculum. Both of his collections are two of the bravest and finest poetry publications of the past few years. If the distilled art of poetry is to mean anything in these times, it will be voices like Owen’s that make it so

Joseph Horgan

The Dreaded Boy is not meant to be an advert for subtle nuance. The themes are huge and they’re tackled head-on.

Matthew Stewart

Reviews for MY FATHER’S EYES WERE BLUE available at http://www.waterstones.co.uk

Owen’s poems seem to free-fall conjuring an irresistible sense of unease.

The way he manages tragedy is utterly beautiful & and the unashamed frailty that meanders through

his collection is very much its strength.

My Father’s Eyes Were Blue has proven that Owen is no one trick pony as this collection is underpinned by a brutality which Owen understates superbly!

Bernadette Cremin

Antony Owen is a startling new voice in British poetry. Forceful, urgent and sometimes shocking images belie a beguiling tenderness, which is rooted in Owen’s clear admiration for honest, hardworking people. What attracts me most in these poems is the focus Owen gives to not-too-distant history, drawing our attention to hidden stories and characters, and detailing the highs and lows of post-War and post-industrial Britain.

Michael McKimm

In his impressive debut collection, My Father’s Eyes Were Blue, Antony Owen’s approach to the often difficult subject of war is sensitive, dramatic and thoroughly contemporary.”

Jacqui Rowe, Flarestack Press

An affecting first collection tinged with melancholy and leavened with moments of black humour.

Jonathan Morley

BIOGRAPHY: ANTONY OWEN 

Antony Owen was born in Coventry and was raised by working class parents. His poetry subjects are diverse with a general focus on forgotten people and the consequences of international and domestic conflicts.

He is the author of four poetry collections by Pighog Press, Heaventree Press and most recently Hesterglock Press who published his latest collection Margaret Thatcher’s Museum.

His work has appeared in several literary journals worldwide with translated works in both Dutch and Japanese war poetry anthologies by Poetry International Europe and Coal Sack Press (Japan).

In 2015 Owen self-funded a trip to Hiroshima to interview A-bomb survivors and meet various schools who have been taught some of his poems. His work has been exhibited at various peace centres including the International Convention Centre, Hiroshima.

In recognition of his work, CND Peace Education UK selected Owen as a patron in 2015 alongside award winning writer AL Kennedy.

Other past recognitions include being selected to meet Irish President Michael D. Higgins in 2014 on the first state visit to the UK by an Irish President. This was to acknowledge Owen’s voluntary work on co-organising the Coventry / Cork twin city poetry exchange.

Owen is a past finalist of two poetry competition awards: The Wilfred Owen Story (UK) and The Shine Journal (USA). Owen is working on a fifth full collection titled We Are Made From Beautiful Atoms which is scheduled for publication circa late 2016.

Note

Owen wishes to acknowledge The Coventry Hiroshima Society who have played a major role in organising and coordinating Owen’s peace activities in Japan. http://www.cnduk.org/information/peace-education/item/2254

vitae

Posted: June 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

BIOGRAPHY: ANTONY OWEN 

Antony Owen was born in Coventry and was raised by working class parents. His poetry subjects are diverse with a general focus on forgotten people and the consequences of international and domestic conflicts.

He is the author of four poetry collections by Pighog Press, Heaventree Press and most recently Hesterglock Press who published his latest collection Margaret Thatcher’s Museum.

His work has appeared in several literary journals worldwide with translated works in both Dutch and Japanese war poetry anthologies by Poetry International Europe and Coal Sack Press (Japan).

In 2015 Owen self-funded a trip to Hiroshima to interview A-bomb survivors and meet various schools who have been taught some of his poems. His work has been exhibited at various peace centres including the International Convention Centre, Hiroshima.

In recognition of his work, CND Peace Education UK selected Owen as a patron in 2015 alongside award winning writer AL Kennedy.

Other past recognitions include being selected to meet Irish President Michael D. Higgins in 2014 on the first state visit to the UK by an Irish President. This was to acknowledge Owen’s voluntary work on co-organising the Coventry / Cork twin city poetry exchange.

Owen is a past finalist of two poetry competition awards: The Wilfred Owen Story (UK) and The Shine Journal (USA). Owen is working on a fifth full collection titled We Are Made From Beautiful Atoms which is scheduled for publication circa late 2016.

Note

Owen wishes to acknowledge The Coventry Hiroshima Society who have played a major role in organising and coordinating Owen’s peace activities in Japan. http://www.cnduk.org/information/peace-education/item/2254