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Review: Inside Voices, Outside Light, by Sigurdur Pálsson

In terms of technique, it is easy to dismiss the earlier poems in particular as chaotic. What is easy to overlook is that it is controlled chaos. The big, bold strokes and forcefulness of isolated words are harnessed by an underlying, almost pedantic, orderliness. In "Land Possessed by Poems" for example, each paragraph is headed by a roman numeral. The paragraphs are all rather short; the reader's overview should be excellent even if the paragraphs were not numbered. That Pálsson provides them anyway demonstrates his attention to detail, which is also applicable to his use of wordplay.


Overall, Inside Voices Outside Light is rather like red wine: the collection should be enjoyed in sips, and each sip should be allowed to breathe in order for it to achieve its full flavour.