Goliat, 2022

Goliat is the long-awaited follow-up to Hooson’s debut collection The Other City. The title poem takes us to the Barents Sea and the dark waters of a Russian oil field named Goliat – a whale, a giant, a monster – to the ‘singular infinities of the wintering sea’, where something is starting to sing.

Nature and climate crisis are forever present in the consciousness of these poems, as in ‘Doggerland’, a lament for the nearing extinction of the white fronted goose, or in ‘Horse Skull Crown’, a folk dance for the evening of the world.

The pinnacle of the collection is the sequence ‘Full Moon on Fish Street’ which introduces an invented artist, known only as Aubrey, and details the erotic dynamic between her and her muse Elizabeth Kidd, which unfolds across poems and against the vibrantly drawn backdrop of St Ives.  Art and artists populate the pages of Goliat, as well as a deep sense of place and history, united in the the series ‘Dirtwife’, inspired by the long history of pigments and dyestuffs.

This intelligent, sensuous second collection tackles the precariousness of climate emergency and of existing in a human body, along with poems exploring the monstrous and the more-than-human, and the intimate histories of women and their work.  

7th Nerve was a poem of the week in the Guardian - you can read it here.

"A masterclass in poetic language and form..."  Reviews of Goliat

“Hooson’s poetry is a rich and assured gift—complex truths are revealed in language that is precise and luminous. One cannot but admire her craft: the sensuous detail and passionate abstraction. These are meditations steeped in profundity. They call on the reader to dare and leap with her wonderments and ultimately to share and celebrate her explorations. ‘Watchfulness’ doesn’t get better than this.”   Menna Elfyn

“The opening poems in this fine and deeply engaging collection ooze imagination… Hooson is unflinching in her bold imaginings… Each of the poems has yearning, a piercing atmosphere and the quiver of the sea… the whole collection is a masterclass in poetic language and form; it represents carefully researched themes and the employment of inventive devices to create a truly magical, luminous book.”  Pat Edwards, The London Grip

”Hooson goes out in her wellies and faces down old and new monsters. Her wise and steady gaze takes in the loss of old certainties, both personal and political, the loss of the ‘white fronted goose’ and of love and innocence. Achingly beautiful, fine and twisty poems– a magical alchemy of the ancient and modern worlds.”  Deborah Alma

“If there’s a more apt word than ‘assured’ for this collection then I can’t think of it. There is poise to the writing, the sensation of encountering a poet who knows exactly what she’s doing, what the parameters of lyric poetry enable her to do, and how she might at times gently stretch those parameters.”  Garry MacKenzie, New Welsh Review

“Deep inks, a clever mind, and a wide imagination – recommended.”  Mab Jones, Buzz Magazine

“An extremely talented poet who has something to say to us all.”   Caroline Bracken, Nation Cymru

“Goliat is a must for poetry fans. It is smart, funny, serious, and creates a world of its own. ”  Liam Nolan, Gwales

The Other City, 2017

Shortlisted for the Wales Book of the Year Award.  Sharply focused, beautifully resonant, deeply felt, these poems tend to travel in distinct streams: some reference and re-make narratives from classical Greek myth, featuring characters like Zeus, Narcissus, Ariadne, Ganymede; some rework elements of Welsh history, both ancient, as in ‘Y Bedd’, (inspired by a section of ‘The Stanzas of the Graves’ commemorating fallen warriors in the Black Book of Carmarthen, 12th Century), and modern as in ‘Elan’ where we we float through the eerie depths of a submerged Welsh village that was drowned to make a reservoir for Liverpool in the 60’s.

There are also a number of poems exploring the idea of otherness and the uncanny, where actions are done and undone, and the familiar made unfamiliar: “the horrifying stillness of the rocking horse.” Or, in ‘Leaving’, the landscape is dismantled behind the protagonist, ruthlessly and meticulously: “the leaves were turning/ and the trees were lifted from their drab./ We remembered them also and burnt them whole…”

This work is also characteristically steeped in winds and weathers, in the seasons of the year, from winters of fog and wet grass in the Welsh mountains, where the 12-year-old author strides down the hill, “heroic, a lamb under each arm” to hypnotic floodwaters in Ullswater, ‘Years later you’ll wake drenched with the moon’s/ long downpour of light…’ to various elsewhere both real: ‘almond trees blossoming in the streets of Jerusalem’, and imagined, as in the title poem where ‘missing men’ are sought in the “drab city of brick/ penned in by a summer’s haze.”

Daughters of the Dust was a Guardian poem of the week - read it here

"Sensuous, musical, darkly involved..."  Reviews of The Other City

“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

“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

“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. Yet her words have the delicacy and precision of [origami’s] fine creases. It’s a beautifully balanced collection.”  D A Prince, Orbis

“In this making there is great skill; Hooson’s poems are beautifully weighted. Free verse is controlled, careful syntax building sound, and within the cascade of imagery, imperatives startle...There is great confidence here; The Other City might be a debut collection, but it’s an assured one.”  Katherine Stansfield, Gwales 

“A brilliant, lyrical, musical collection of poems. These are poems as artworks, in which every single sentence is beautifully and elegantly constructed. 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 Davies, Wales Book of the Year adjudication comments

Full Moon on Fish Street, 2019

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

"A brilliant sequence" - Liam Nolan, Gwales.  Full Moon on Fish Street features in Goliat, but the pamphlet is available to buy at live events.

This Reckless Beauty, 2005

"A work of both tender intimacy and powerful clarity, This Reckless Beauty pushes Rhiannon Hooson to the forefront of literary female voices."  Gerard Wozek

This pamphlet is now sold out.

Heartland (Editor)

An anthology of the winning stories and poems from the Penfro Festival writing competitions, edited by Rhiannon Hooson and Niall Griffiths.