Tongues of Fire

By Megan Thomas

Can you guess which booknerd has started taking a backpack of books on her daily walks because she’s run out of surfaces at home? (It’s me).

I’ll be working my way through the shortlist of the Sunday Times / University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year Award, with thanks to FMcM Associates for the gifted books.

First up is Tongues of Fire, Sean Hewitt’s debut poetry collection published by Jonathan Cape. The poems expertly compare the intricacy of the natural world with that of the human experience, exposing so much raw love and pain that it sometimes felt like I shouldn’t be allowed to read them.

To break it up into the “themes” of the collection seems like an injustice to its wholeness. Rather than writing individual poems which speak to love, grief, regret, longing, heartbreak, youth – which it definitely does cover – Hewitt has crafted an anthology wherein every poem speaks to all of these complex human emotions at once, not in identifiable labels but as an interconnected ecosystem.

On first reading, each poem is light, beautiful and airy. It’s like they’ve been grown rather than written, and if you tried to pluck one of these vibrant, glowing flowers from the ground, it wouldn’t budge: it would tug against its roots in the earth and remind you where this kinds of vulnerable beauty comes from.


BUY THE BOOK: Waterstones | Amazon
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