"Slower", Andrew McNeillie's third collection, meditates on personal and natural history, nation states and mental states, violence, religion and poetry. It treats too of personal bereavement, and of love and marriage. The poem sequences at its core make connections between places, times and events, and meditate on continuities. The twenty-eight 'Glyn Dwr Sonnets' explore parallels between the campaigns of the Welsh hero and those of Osama Bin Laden, offering wry reflections on ideas of nation and belonging, and on the practice of writing poems. 'A Portrait of the Poet as a Young Dog' also plays to a Welsh tune, offering eleven sonnets on the author's wayward young manhood, while 'Arkwork' - with 'artwork' by Julian Bell - finds in the loss of the Stranraer-Larne ferry in January 1953, in which the 133 passengers and crew drowned, a focus for reflection on the literary history of shipwreck, death, and survival. At the book's close, the title poem looks towards a new future, in a meditation at an Irish wedding, with reflections on the Good Friday Agreement.
ANDREW McNEILLIE is the Literature Editor at Oxford University Press. His collection Nevermore (2000), in the Oxford Poets series from Carcanet, was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. A second collection, Now, Then, was published in 2002 by OxfordPoets/Carcanet.