Horse Music is Matthew Sweeney's tenth collection of poems, as sinister as its dark forebears it is lyrical and touching as well as disturbing and disquieting. Confronting him in these imaginative riffs are not just the perplexing animals and folklorish crows familiar from his earlier books, but also magical horses, ghosts, dwarfs and gnomes.
Horse Music is not only Matthew Sweeney's most adventurous book to date, it is also his most varied, including not only outlandish adventures and macabre musings, but also moving responses to family deaths – balanced by a poem to a newborn, picturing the strange new world that will unfold for her. That strange world unfolds for us too in the eerie poems of this collection. Horse Music is a poetry Book Society Recommendation.
‘A poet of obsession and ritual...often elusive or mysterious...enlivened with his saturnine, uncomfortably insistent humour...Ambitious and troubling, linking Ireland to the Black Sea and madness to history, grim as death and very funny’ – Sean O’Brien, Guardian
‘Haunting fables of entrapment or imprisonment, of troubled sleep, of persecution and loneliness treated with Kafkaesque attention to detail’ – Alan Brownjohn, Sunday Times
‘With its landscapes of desolate isolations, his is often an evocatively noirish world of contemporary angst… The persona of the poems is a troubled, self-aware consciousness taking in but never quite making sense of a contemporary world of fragments, a consciousness stretched and strained, but untouched by self-indulgence, self-pity or self-regard’ – Eamon Grennan, Irish Times
Matthew Sweeney was born in Lifford, Co. Donegal, Ireland in 1952. He has lived in London, Berlin and Timisoara and now lives in Cork. He has published ten collections of poems including: Black Moon (Jonathon Cape, 2007) which was shortlisted for the T.S Eliot Prize and the Irish Times Poetry Now Award. He won a Cholmondeley Award in 1987 and an Arts Council Writer's Award in 1999. He has also published collections of poetry and novels for children, edited leading anthologies and co-written poetry handbooks.