Informative message

Access your eBook by downloading the Glassboxx app and typing in the email address you used for the order. Find more information on our About Ebooks page.



Rhiannon Hooson
Publication Date: 
Thursday, October 6, 2022
No votes yet

Featured as Guardian Poem of the Week


Goliat is the long-awaited follow-up to Hooson’s debut collection The Other City. The title poem takes us to the Barents Sea and the dark waters of a Russian oil field named Goliat – a whale, a giant, a monster – to the ‘singular infinities of the wintering sea’, where something is starting to sing. 

Nature and climate crisis are forever present in the consciousness of these poems, as in ‘Doggerland’, a lament for the nearing extinction of the white fronted goose, or in ‘Horse Skull Crown’, a folk dance for the evening of the world.

The pinnacle of the collection is the sequence ‘Full Moon on Fish Street’ which introduces an invented artist, known only as Aubrey, and details the erotic dynamic between her and her muse Elizabeth Kidd, which unfolds across poems and against the vibrantly drawn backdrop of St Ives. 

Art and artists populate the pages of Goliat, as well as a deep sense of place and history, united in the the series ‘Dirtwife’, inspired by the long history of pigments and dyestuffs. 

This intelligent, sensuous second collection tackles the precariousness of climate emergency and of existing in a human body, along with poems exploring the monstrous and the more-than-human, and the intimate histories of women and their work.


“Hooson’s poetry is a rich and assured gift—complex truths are revealed in language that is precise and luminous. One cannot but admire her craft: the sensuous detail and passionate abstraction. These are meditations steeped in profundity.  They call on the reader to dare and leap with her wonderments and ultimately to share and celebrate her explorations. ‘ Watchfulness’ doesn’t get better than this.”  – Menna Elfyn

”Hooson goes out in her wellies and faces down old and new monsters. Her wise and steady gaze takes in the loss of old certainties, both personal and political, the loss of the ‘white fronted goose’ and of love and innocence. Achingly beautiful, fine and twisty poems– a magical alchemy of the ancient and modern worlds.” – Deborah Alma


Review by Mab Jones, Buzz Magazine

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Named after a Russian oilfield, Goliat takes things which are modern – streets, gardens, coffee houses, spaceships – and renders them, generally, in such a painterly way that all are rendered rich, resonant, and redolent of a time when tapestries hung on the wall and fires were the only source of heating. The spaceship poem, Event Horizons, is more clipped, offering up a particular voice, but where the voice appears to be Hooson’s, there’s a richness in these poems that seems not just timeless but to traverse – and to originate from – another century: like Andrew Marvell reincarnated, perhaps.

Several of the poems in Goliat are in other voices, however, and there are poems that veer through time as well as space. Still, there’s a kind of beauty, a sort of romance, even in pieces where we cramp inside a ‘leech house’ or in the wonderfully titled Dung Beetle Love Poem. In Rat Boy, Hooson proves that she can be crisp, curt, and less lyrical, and another poem offers “a long dark shop once filled with / faded VHS” and a bar whose music is likened to “a damp beermat”; but my overall sense of deep richness remains, after reading, and I would ask you to read the book to find out if you feel the same. Deep inks, a clever mind, and a wide imagination – recommended.

Review by Caroline Bracken, Nation Cymru

Monday, February 6, 2023

At the heart of Rhiannon Hooson’s second collection Goliat published by Seren, is a sequence of poems called ‘Full Moon on Fish Street’. The poet used Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse and The Waves as source material for the poems. The final poem in the sequence ‘What Matters’ gets to the source of what matters in the whole collection, quoted in full:

‘What matters is the moonlight
on the moor. The way it snags
thistledown on the teeth of a tide
that brushes the year down flat
as cat’s fur. What matters
are the skylarks whittling complexity
from a single note that rises
into the dusk. These things
and the journey each spring
that Aubrey makes to the shore.’

Survival of living things and our relationships with each other are big subjects but ones this poet is well able for:

‘In hidden valleys oaks grew
with their backs to the sun. The earth
was an indrawn breath, the ice
three thousand metres deep.
And at the foot of this great
wall of ice, a girl:’ (How the Oak Tree Survived the Ice Age)

The poems never sound preachy but rather, draw you into their orbit so you listen, willingly:

‘They say an egg laid
on ascension day protects from lightening,
but it was winter, and the storm was a thing
of stranger gifts. It swelled the river, left him
silhouetted by the ash stump, axe above his head.’

Many of the poems are inspired by paintings, including ‘Wheatfield with Crows’, after Van Gogh where the speaker tells of a journey home from hospital. It is a fine poem from an extremely talented poet who has something to say to us all:

‘we stopped in a valley corked
with apples and silence, and the light
was apricot warm. I stood
at the edge of the field
watched its little tides
thought of all the golden-haired
women in pre-raphaelite paintings
thought, god, I’m free, thought
how all this would carry on
a little longer’

Review by Pat Edwards, The London Grip

Thursday, October 13, 2022

“The opening poems in this fine and deeply engaging collection ooze imagination… Hooson is unflinching in her bold imaginings… Each of the poems has yearning, a piercing atmosphere and the quiver of the sea… the whole collection is a masterclass in poetic language and form; it represents carefully researched themes and the employment of inventive devices to create a truly magical, luminous book.” – The London Grip

Read the full review here

User Reviews

Sorry there are no reviews yet for this book