Living up to its title, Black Moon is a disquieting collection of portents and panic, and undoubtedly Matthew Sweeney's darkest book to date.
Negotiating the borders and hinterlands of Central and Eastern Europe - with occasional coracle trips or forays to Antarctica for a round of golf - the homesick flaneur surveys the surrounding devastation with the same mixture of fascination and alarm he feels when he discovers the sweat-mark on his T-shirt makes a perfect map of Ireland. All around, he sees natural and man-made catastrophe: the ruins and remnants of war peopled by kidnappers and assassins, feral dogs, death squads, the dispossessed and deracinated.
These poems are parables of threat, parties for the end of the world; they speak eloquently of damage, displacement and the resulting swell of terror:
'I looked back at the door
heard the lock click, then beyond
another lock, then another.'
“Matthew Sweeney is a unique force for good in British poetry. The work is one large metaphor: a parable for the human condition... He is one of our finest poets of the unconscious; of darkness brought to light adn madly, glintingly, against all expectation, shared”
“Here are the small and great truths of the imagination that bursts forth out of our daily lives. Sweeney's poems are reflective, funny, supremely inventive and impeccably written. This is contemporary poetry at its very best”
“Sweeney's imagination is fascinated by all the ways we say no to experience, and how those denials build an enigmatic and above all deeply personal architecture around us”
Claire Wills, Irish Times
“Grim as death and very funny”
“His gift is to venture into unexpected territory... luminous stories springing from a rare and dark imagination”