- THE DOROTHY HEWETT AWARD
Moonlight on Oleander: Prose Poems
Paul Hetherington has become a master of the prose poem form, creating intriguing yet hospitable pieces whose tonal, emotional and imaginative range are a delight. Each piece has been carefully wrought to become sharp and revelatory; his graceful cadences reach right into the heart of his subjects. This poet gives us substance, communion and an intense dialogue with the inner life. This is a superb collection.
In Paul Hetherington’s Moonlight on Oleander things, places and human relationships become densely present in the process of being thought forward into ghostliness, through long and loving habit. Sequential without being narrative, consequential without the clincher of rhyme, Hetherington’s forms of words, gathered into blocks, seem like a new, telling version of sparseness, ‘unworded by exertion’ in the great tenderness the poet hints at, but will not overstate; in the links made between old worlds and new.
Paul Hetherington’s ‘shrine to the fragment’ is more than the sum of its parts. Here, details and incidents are seen anew, obliquely, renewed with precise words and a clarity of language and vision. This book is, indeed ‘a beauty that sits in the hand’, these poems composed ‘as if memory [was] a slow-burning furnace’.