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Review: White Coins, by James Byrne

White Coins by UK poet, James Byrne, is a collection that operates zealously across the rich surfaces of semantic interconnectedness and imagistic playfulness.


I keep returning to an earlier sense that after the enjoyment (for both writer and reader, I'm sure) of unpacking or merely delighting in startling word-play and the sometimes mysterious connections between ideas, I am still moved centrally by that Romantic imagination operating (I'm convinced) behind this scintillating surface of ever-shifting language. That quiet acknowledgement of the Romantic sublime as presented through nature is evident throughout the book, waiting just beyond the unceasing layers-upon-layers of meaning; as if given a chance, nature provides not just a boundless source of metaphors, but also respite and a curiously embracive calm beyond human-made uncertainties or semantic fragmentation; as when the book closes with a line like this to remind the reader of that which is all-encompassing already abiding in us all:

all these lives of sea

filling out in our ears