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Review: The Icon Maker, by Paul Stubbs

Every now and then, a poet appears who seems to be trying to do something in addition to finding their own voice: a writer who seems to be trying to find a new role for poetry itself; attempting to redefine the landscape.

Of the voices under review here I'd say that Paul Stubbs may prove to be the writer who is reaching for that additional dimension. He is not looking inside himself for what might be original and arresting but is driven by a concept and a theme that is large and demanding. His first book The Theological Museum introduced motifs that are continued in The Icon Maker. To say Stubbs is exploring the gaps that have opened up, in a Godless age, in the realms of power, ethics and sense of self, may seem as if he is exploring old ground. The constant invoking of words with a clanging Christian resonance -"heaven", "hell", "angels", "God", "Christ", "paradise", "apostate", "faith" to mention just a few examples from the first two poems, -is not, in his hands, a questioning of Theology but is an interrogation of the nature of the void that the lack of religious underpinning has left.