Matthew Sweeney introduces and reads from his tenth collection of poems, Horse Music (2013). The new book is as sinister as its dark forebears, but the notes he hits in Horse Music are 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. Central to the book are a group of Berlin poems – introducing us to, among things, the birds of Chamissoplatz who warn of coming ecological disaster, or the horses who swim across the Wannsee to pay homage to Heinrich von Kleist in his grave (in 'Fans', which he reads here). Many poems in the book range freely across the borders of realism into an alternative realism, while others stay within what Elizabeth Bishop called ‘the surrealism of everyday life’ – such as a tale about Romanian gypsies removing bit by bit an abandoned car ('The Slow Story of No'). Neil Astley filmed Matthew Sweeney reading a selection of poems from the book at his home in Cork in February 2012. Here he reads six poems: 'Horse Music', 'Fans', 'The Tunnel', 'Sunday Morning', 'The Slow Story of No' and 'Booty'. Matthew Sweeney’s work is used in this film with the permission of his publishers, Bloodaxe Books. For more details see bloodaxebooks.com/titlepage.asp?isbn=1852249676

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