(Published by The Broken Spine) https://thebrokenspine.co.uk/product/the-keeper-of-aeons-matthew-m-c-smith/
Review of Matthew M. C. Smith’s book “The Keeper of Aeons”
Book Review by Spriha Kant
The title of the book “The Keeper of Aeons” speaks itself for the work the poet has done in this book.
The poet has beautifully painted all his poetries with metaphorical and personified strokes, influential to make the readers flow with them.
In a few poetries, the poet has recited mythological stories and beliefs, influential to drift readers into them, one of the poetries doing so is “Reunion,” quoting the following few stanzas from the poem:
“In the harbour, the sails are shrouds. The town is a sleeping dog at its master’s feet. They lie in the heat of night, dark forms in silver light. With a gentle rise of wind, the palace and Royal room are cooled by the sea. She lies still, skin prickled, her body barely betraying breath. Her first finger rises, feels his ribs, smooths a ridge of strung muscle under his bow arm, a column of sinews.” “Earlier, they crossed over, a pulsing, a piling of limbs, a shine of two swords clashing in Athena’s light; surging, heaving, rhythms of rapture and fall” The poet is from Swansea, Wales, and accomplished his Ph.D. in Robert Graves and Welsh Celticism from the University of Wales, Swansea in 2006. He has academic essays on Robert Graves published in The International Journal for Welsh writing in English. So, it is obvious to have a reflection of the Welsh culture, traditions, and customs, the beauties of the eminent landscapes, sacred places, and prehistoric caves present in Wales, and Welsh vocabulary in his poetries like a reflection of flora and sky in a pristine still river. The description of the beauties based on his keen observatory skills in his rivery poetries add the sun glitter by making the readers swim like ducks and wade like flamingos in his rivery poetries, showing a few shots of the sun glitter below: “Is this the womb-temple, the mouth of Annwn, through ciphered rows of rocks?” “glint in glacier-ruins where minnows flicker in golden shallows” “Step the green shelves – where shadows wind and kinks of light kick as cupmarks bubble from a riven roof” Showing glimpses of a few words used by the poet for one of the Welsh customs: “Horror a horse skull, bargain its bygone breath with death. The shock and shake of shell flays the air with its ribbon trail; flails, tails, natters, rattles against glass, thumps, clunks doors ajar, stealing heat to slate-sheen street.” The poet’s attitude of flashing light on prehistoric species and objects while taking his readers on a ride to their prevailing state in the museums in synchronization with his emotions shows he is still a “fresh leaf,” on the fact that he completed his Ph.D. in 2006. However, this fresh leaf has also a deep love for prehistoric places and objects which is evident in the words he used in his poetry “Og of Coygan (Coygan Cave)”: “When everything clears, eyes conjure images that twist in the spectrum.” The poet has also added different flavors in a few poems, including, satires, hard-hitting words, and recital of pathetic conditions influential to make the heart weep, quoting a few of the flavours below: “Walk with cracked feet through heat of the city. People cross as ghosts, drifting” “The low murmur of blood.” “Tides are time’s erasure.” “the paradox of human destruction versus quiet veneration” A few poetries indicate the poet’s fascination towards “Space” which can be read in the following few stanzas from one of such poetries “What is Faith?”: “It is knowing that nothing matters that there is nothing else but the dance of dust around our bodies and the speed of light, impossibly fast and far, which knows no pain, an arrow without sentience. That we were and are, will be, so close in moments uncounted, as we pass through this carousel of space, with hard laughter, where lips are planets tilting and limbs are luminous, giant jets of cloud on axis, against diamonds on black. Our faith and belief are inside, within, beyond each breath. We, miracles of molecule, with fingers that shape and conduct our fervent whispers to god.” This book is a hair dyed in the streaks of archeology, nature, space, and mythology. However, there are a few poems vacuous of these streaks, such poems are scintillating like glittery hairpins in undyed black hair, one such poetry is “Winter Fever,” quoting a few following stanzas from the poetry: “She kneels in silence, in a golden heart of light. She is prayer, Angel. Recovery is slow: veins blue, fingers white, these hands, marmoreal.” This book can be a reference for travel enthusiasts by giving them clues about the beautiful places to travel to in Wales. The poetries glittering with the beauties of the eminent landscapes present in Wales can prompt travel photographers to travel to Wales. This book can act as a root that can arouse interest in poetry and guide to writing poetry for all those untouched by poetry who are fascinated with space. Bios (Matthew M.C. Smith & Spriha Kant): Matthew M. C. Smith (Poet): Matthew M. C. Smith is a writer from Swansea, Wales. He completed a Ph.D. on Robert Graves and Welsh Celticism at the University of Wales, Swansea in 2006. He has academic essays on Robert Graves published in The International Journal for Welsh writing in English. Matthew is widely published with poetry and prose in Poetry Wales, The Lonely Crowd, Finished Creatures, Anti-Heroin Chic, Arachne Press, Atrium Poetry, Barren Magazine, Bold Magazine, Broken Spine Arts, Icefloe Press, Seventh Quarry, The Storms Journal, Fevers of the Mind, Bangor Literary Journal, Wales Haiku Journal, Green Ink, Twist in Time, and Acropolis Journal. Matthew won the R.S. Thomas award for poetry at the Gwyl Cybi festival in 2018 and has been nominated for ‘Best of the Net’ three times by Icefloe Press, Acropolis Journal, and Broken Spine. He is the editor of Black Bough Poetry, the Silver Branch project, and the weekly online poetry platform TopTweetTuesday on Twitter. He published Origin: 21 Poems in 2018. The Keeper of Aeons is his second collection. Spriha Kant (Poetess and Book Reviewer): Spriha Kant is a poetess and a book reviewer. Her poetry "The Seashell" was first published online in the "Imaginary Land Stories." Her poetries have been published in anthologies including “Sing, Do the birds of Spring”, “A Whisper Of Your Love”, “Hard Rain Poetry: Forever Dylan”, and “Bare Bones Writing Issue 1: Fevers of the Mind”. Her work has been featured in “SYNERGY: CALLING ALL WRITERS WHO ARE PHOTOGRAPHERS” on thewombwellrainbow.com. She has been featured in the “Quick-9 interview” on feversofthemind.com. She has reviewed four poetry books, including, “Silence From The Shadows” by Stuart Matthews “Spaces” by Clive Gresswell, and “Washed Away- a collection of fragments” by Shiksha Dheda, and “Nature Speaks of Love and Sorrow” by Jeff Flesch. She has been a part of the events celebrating the launches of the books, one by Jeff Flesch for “Nature Speaks of Love and Sorrow” and the other one by Paul Brookes for “As FolkTaleTeller.” She has collaborated with David L O’ Nan on the poetry “The Doorsteps Series.”