Category Archives: Reviews

Clare Gallagher: Domestic Drift

A grassy dome littered with tiny flowers sits in the middle of an earthy path.  The scale, at first, is confusing: is this a small mountain, or raked leaves in a garden?  A plastic shark and an orange ball balance, equally improbably, on irregular, glassy waves in what must be a paddling pool, or part of a child’s toy. More

Imagine Belfasts: The Cities of Belfast ed Nicholas Allen and Aaron Kelly

Why the cities of Belfast when Belfast itself is so commonly considered in the media, literature and the arts?  This is the question Aaron Kelly and Nicolas Allen pose in the introduction to this timely collection of critical essays – a collection arising, they suggest, from the perceived distance between the city of their lived experience and that of their of their reading. Belfast, as Gerald Dawe puts it here, ‘has been stereotyped to death; a complex history in permafrost; its geocultural life as a port, haven, hellhole, dumbed down before the term was invented’. More

Peter McDonald: Serious Poetry: Form and Authority from Yeats to Hill

In contemporary British literary culture, Peter McDonald contends, seriousness has become problematic: ‘First of all, there is more than a smack of the humourless about it, a suspicion of dour intensity and prim high-mindedness: serious poetry, in this light, is something read by desiccated intellectuals in cold houses without television, and sits on their shelves along with volumes of F.R. Leavis and Raymond Williams’. More

Porn Again: Under Your Skin at Catalyst Arts

Under Your Skin, the current show at Catalyst Arts, brings together the work of Richard Kern and Annie Sprinkle.  Kern is a New York film-maker and photographer who, as he explained at a talk following the show’s opening, makes his living shooting commercial porn; Annie Sprinkle is a former prostitute and porn star turned film-maker, performance artist, activist and – if you take her seriously here – sexual shaman. More