Publications

Full Moon on Fish Street
August 2018, Beautiful Dragons Press

 

 A story about art, myth, climate change, and love at the water's edge. 
 




Reviews for The Other City, 2016
 
The Other City was published in 2016 by Seren books.  It was shortlisted for the Wales Book of the Year award.  You can buy it from Seren here.

Rhiannon Hooson’s The Other City is a brilliant, lyrical, musical collection of poems. These are
poems as artworks, in which every single sentence is beautifully and elegantly constructed. The
book opens with the image of rocks being thrown onto a frozen reservoir, before exploring the
slow sinking of those rocks through the thawing ice over time, and that’s a good image for the
great power of these poems. These poems have great restraint, they never fully explain
themselves, and what that does is draw you back again and again to them – this is poetry which
fills your head when you’re not reading the book as well as when you are. We were reminded of
the work of Tiffany Atkinson, but only in the sense that Rhiannon Hooson’s voice is as original,
fully-realised and as much her own as Atkinson’s is. And also we didn’t think it was too
extravagant a comparison to think of these poems alongside the work of Louis MacNeice, in
their haunting, distinctive and powerful music and their formal brilliance. It’s a cliché of course
with a first collection to say that this book promises great things for the future and, while that’s
true, it should be absolutely clear that this book is already at a pitch of achievement that many of
us won’t reach across a career.
Jonathan Edwards, Wales Book of the Year


This is a beguiling debut from a poet who already has a recognizable voice and emotional register. Sensuous, musical, darkly involved, the poems make and confound their own realities. Each is beautifully detailed, each rich with memory and possibility, haunted by presence and absence, by a terrific and sometimes terrifying sense of the forces that condition human experience and relationships. The Other City is compelling and provocative work from an authentically engaged poetic imagination.
Graham Mort

It seems never summer in The Other City, but always a season where frost and snow delineate the framework of life, deadening air or splitting water with ferocious sharpness. Animals are both ordinary and god-like, people are known through remembered histories, powerful elemental forces seem casually every-day.  There is a shifting 'end of century' atmosphere pervading, like you are glimpsing a world wrapped in the cotton-wool air of an old drawer, but Rhiannon Hooson's voice and vision is new and clear. For me, this collection is like spider’s web laced with dew drops. Each miniscule bead of water is a poem magnifying the Other City; light invades the prism and we on the outside view a flash of what might have been, or yet, what is to come. To sum up, stunning, well-crafted poems dusted with imagination and intrigue - my favourite poetry book of 2017.
Emma van Woerkom 

Hooson’s style is thoughtful, questioning, reflective, and consistently restrained. Her collection gives the impression of having come together over a long period, with each piece earning its place. In ‘Origami’, where repetitions evoke the effect of different folds, she writes ‘... We work paper / so we do not have to cover it with words.’ Yet her words have the delicacy and precision of the art form’s fine creases. The unnamed teacher of origami shares the same human need for ritual as Hooson’s Welsh ancestors but she never forces the point on the reader. Instead, she shows us their worlds, leaving us to deduce the overlap. It’s a beautifully balanced collection.


 

D.A. Prince, Orbis


More reviews for The Other City can be found on the Seren listing page, here



Reviews for This Reckless Beauty, 2004.

“A work of both tender intimacy and powerful clarity, This Reckless Beauty pushes Rhiannon Hooson to the forefront of literary female voices. Hooson’s project is to cast human love and all its entanglements into a mythic framework, thereby giving the reader an archetypal vision of what we strive to receive most from both ourselves and others, a kind of abiding and unspoken acceptance. With subjects ranging from the imagination to immortality, Hooson stands unabashedly vulnerable to the reader and successfully captures the reverberations ofyearning within these fierce poems. Artfully weaving the erotic with the sublime, Hooson’s nostalgia for the limited ‘reckless beauty’, is a work of lasting substance, revealing our own unexamined desires and demiurges.”
Gerard Wozek
“Uncompromising and sharp-edged. Her Welsh ancestry and heritage give her voice a strength which is rarely associated with women poets. Hers is an imagination fed and coloured by a variety of mythologies and histories. The rhythmic arch and span of the lines have an almost incantatory balance and counterpoise, and some of these poems could be the voice of the bard singing of battles, of mythic hunts, of heroic loves. If ever a book belied the idea of women’s poetry as ‘sentimental’, this collection is it.”
Joanna Boulter
“In This Reckless Beauty the modern world and that of myth are seamlessly joined, giving the poems a resonance that pulls the reader up short… I found myself entranced.” Lyn Moir
“Rhiannon Hooson’s poetry glistens in the dark like a pointed end of a spear. It is sensual and dangerous, revelling in the primal forces simultaneously held and released by each."
Charles Bennett

“This is poetry of blood and blade, of the boar hunt, of sacrifice, of love at knife point. It
is set in an apparently timeless world that draws on a multitude of myths, from Wales, the author's home, but also from Siberia, Ancient Greece and the Old Testament. The poems draw essentially on images from nature, from the night and the night sky, from woods and sand and desert. Only occasionally does modern life peep out, quite unexpectedly, — an unanswered telephone, pylons that hiss and crack in the rain, a Windsor knot, a light bulb, driving — and these serve as a sharp reminder that Hooson's purpose in using myth is not to embed her tales in some distant and irrelevant past. The latent violence of the subject matter is contemporary, personal, and this becomes more apparent as one reads on.
Hooson's choice of language enables her to achieve a masterful combination of the sensuality and violence of human relationships. Her rhythms are firm, her language taut, and her use of alliteration, internal rhyme, and, above all, the repetitions fit well within her mythical framework. Certain words recur like a leitmotif: blood, meat, wound, flesh. The imagery of action is well embedded in metaphor: laughter that snarls, smiles that glint, a bird circling an "acid-sharp path" into cloud, the tang of dawn that "sluices the window", the sun's "loud smack". We could be in the kenningar.

For anyone who knows Elisabeth Rapp's poetry, THIS RECKLESS BEAUTY reads almost like photographic negatives of Rapp's view. Here is the violent underside to suffering, both man's and nature's, and HOOSON revels in it. I recommend anyone with a taste for blood to get their teeth into it.”
Jacqueline Karp, New Hope International

“Her poetry is very much earthed in a sense of the primal, the chthonic. Allusions are fleshed out with a vivid savagery, as is her use of textual layout; lines are hot, thick, heavy with the meat of her thought and the explicit actions of desire.”
Sarah Law, Orbis 132