In Adamantine (Red Hen/Pighog Press, 2019), Naomi Foyle demonstrates again her dazzling formal range, and broadens her commitment to an uncompromising internationalism and the stubborn truths of female experience.
Deploying visual poetry, free verse, sonnets, the ballad and spoken word rhythms, Adamantine honours the achievements of remarkable women from Mohawk writer and performer Tekahionwake and iconic Canadian painter Emily Carr to Anglo-Irish revolutionaries Eva Gore-Booth and Constance Markievicz. The book also eulogises unsung heroines, including the late writer Emily Givner, the mothers and orators of West Belfast, and Pamela Jean George, a murdered young Aboriginal woman from Foyle’s home province of Saskatchewan. From Foyle’s concern with the Middle East, so evident in her acclaimed second collection The World Cup, spring troubled reflections on political violence and tributes to Palestinian and Israeli prisoners of conscience. Elsewhere, a vividly imagined conversation between Old Testament wives imbues the collection with a deeper historical resonance, while personal pilgrimages move from chanteuse Nico’s graveyard in Berlin to the crematorium of Grenfell Tower.
In its riveting combination of theatrical flair and emotional vulnerability, the book’s final sequence, The Cancer Breakthrough, recalls the imaginative pyrotechnics of Foyle’s PBS Recommended debut collection The Night Pavilion, and pays spectacular homage to the power of loving community.
In North America, Adamantine is available from book shops, Red Hen Press, Amazon.ca & Amazon.com
In the UK and Europe, Adamantine is available from book shops or Amazon.co.uk.
Please contact Naomi Foyle directly for review copies.
Praise for Adamantine:
Adamantine, an especially appropriate title, for Naomi Foyle’s collection of unsparing compassions, prepares us for the spirit here, one “incapable of being broken, dissolved, or penetrated” the epigram that prefaces the book tells us. These are poems of a committed intellect, political, well-traveled, resilient. We move through multiple cities, towns, continents — Saskatchewan, Canada, Grenfell Tower, England, Belfast, Palestine, Africa — as idioms and varying registers speak their kinship with departed loved ones, Biblical and pagan deities, the story of “the murdered Aboriginal woman,” the Canadian painter Emily Carr, the young Palestinian activist, Ahed, to name some of the lives that inhabit Foyle’s brilliantly wrought verse. Fierce empathies put a lens on the seemingly inexhaustible ways we have proven our “failure to care for each other,” yet the collection sings the myriad ways our stricken bodies, economies, and corruptions also, still, bind us.
—Adrianne Kalfopoulou, author of A History of Too Much
In this vibrant and wide-ranging collection, Naomi Foyle explores the turmoil of the world and the turmoil of the body. Narrative and lyric poems range from the tragedies and injustices of Grenfell Tower, Palestine and First Nation stories, to experiences of cancer and remission. The poems employ a skillful variety of forms from totem shapes to villanelles, while eavesdropping on and inhabiting the voices and obsessions of the twenty-first century. Always aware of the paradoxes of global politics and the self, Foyle celebrates our will to survive in the face of poverty, war, prejudice and illness. Sometimes reflective, formal and intimate, sometimes as quick-paced and street-wise as a beat poet, Foyle writes with passion, grace and wit. The cumulative effect is of protest but even more of gratitude and compassion, a valuing of what makes us human.
—Stephanie Norgate, author of Hidden River and The Blue Den
This collection sees our life as it is now, a fragile veil hanging in front of what was lost. Foyle’s Adamantine is a lithographic stone, fixing patterns of brutality, innocence, and pain onto the veil. But there is hope here too, as it shows us the joy of what we can become, if only we have the courage to tear through that thin shroud.
—Fawzia Muradali Kane, author of Tantie Diablesse