Matthew Sweeney’s eleventh collection of poems is haunted by mortality, by other worlds and far-flung places, by visitations and violent events like the Spanish Inquisition. The poems are imaginative riffs featuring troubling companions and troublesome thoughts: ghosts and spirits, anger and guilt, crows and horses, and a footballing elephant.
And yet amid the outlandish adventures and macabre musings in Inquisition Lane, other notes are also sounded: the poems can be lyrical as well as exuberant, saddened as well as extravagant. Dear friends are remembered. Faith is questioned. The Catholic Church is interrogated. German monks zoom by on Harley-Davidsons and chocolate is mined by French monks beneath the Madeleine in Paris.
‘Matthew Sweeney is a hugely talented poet and this is a richly imagined and rewarding collection in which he is writing at the height of his powers.’ – David Cooke, Manchester Review [on Inquisition Lane]
'Sweeney’s peripatetic poetry reflects his real-life peripatetic lifestyle. This collection is no exception, taking in Cork and New York, real life and imaginary, Spain, France and Germany. And it is in part his well-travelled imagination that makes Sweeney worth reading.' - Ailbhe Darcy, The Stinging Fly [on Inquisition Lane]
‘The poems in this collection roam around, wining and dining themselves from Cork to New York, Tripoli to Sabratha, Berlin to Seville. In this way, Inquisition Lane is a kind of picaresque led not necessarily by a character, but by a voice, or a way of seeing. It is a gallivant through a world partly ours and partly not; real places are charmed and refigured by the imagination.’ – Stephen Sexton, Poetry Ireland Review
Matthew Sweeney reads from Inquisition Lane at Ledbury
Matthew Sweeney reads and introduces five poems from Inquisition Lane: ‘The Biggest Task’, The Insurance Agent’, ‘Into the Air’, ‘Elegy for the Moonman’ and ‘Inquistion Lane’. Filmed by Neil Astley, this video shows part of his reading following an interview with Maitreyabandhu at the Adisthana Retreat Centre, Coddington, part of Ledbury Poetry Festival on 6 July 2016.