The Unreturning

The Unreturning

By Martin Malone

Price: £10.00

ISBN: 978-1-912524-20-4

Number of pages: 116

Paperback, 135x210mm


Born in County Durham, Martin Malone now lives in north-east Scotland. He has published two previous collections of poetry, Cur (Shoestring, 2015) and The Waiting Hillside (Templar, 2011). A winner of the 2011 Straid Poetry Award and the 2012 Mirehouse Prize, he was editor of The Interpreter’s House poetry journal between 2013 and 2018.

Iconoclastic, playful and inventive, Malone’s third collection is an audacious attempt to rejuvenate the vernacular of Great War poetry. Ghosts of the Vortex begins a remarkable Great War diptych in which the later dissenting voices of The Unreturning parley with its more traditional elegiac forms. Picking up the neo-modernist mantle of Geoffrey Hill’s early work, the prose poems of The Unreturning represent a breath-taking sequence of merciless hymns to our cultural obsession with the First World War. In it, the self-revelatory instincts of the Great War trench lyric become enmeshed in dialogue with present day contexts in an effort to create meaningful acts of witness for ‘a nation /with so many memorials but no memory’. The result is a collection of great ambition and originality, representing a serious achievement in an area already overwritten by generations of poets during the past century.

“…a triumph of chronotopic synthesis, bringing together in significantly unstable amalgams ranges of language and experience that critically catch and address some of the glaringly painful ways in which we are, one hundred years after, heirs to the Great War’s tragic failures in imagination and intelligence.” – Peter Robinson

“…a sinuous and deft melding of popular language and discourse with intimate and vivid voicings of the mind in variously dramatic and personae-rich modes. The cultural memory work done by the pieces is freed up by the political energy, the class argument, the attention to current war ideology in the UK, and articulates also a very emotionally plausible account of the manner in which the dead of that war still speak to us.” – Adam Piette

“At once sardonic and elegiac, Martin Malone moves the wheels of history with the blood of his empathy and craft.” – Dan O’Brien