Sleeping with Icons (2007)
The language is absolutely exact and economical……and [he] makes the best uses of the characteristic Buller effect of the shorter last line – which I remember imitating while at Cambridge. Wish I could write like that
Buller’s work can be as stimulating as a well-iced gin and tonic
Fastidious, gentle, lyrical, and exceptionally prosodic, Buller is an accomplished exponent of poetic form, while also being freely confident in occasionally doing without it. And this all depends on the tone and subject of what he is writing about. Buller is a consummate craftsman, whose meticulous skill is balanced with an ease of expression and a musicality of language. His elegies and tributes to various artistic influences – D.H. Lawrence, Thomas Hardy, Strindberg, Picasso et al – are admirably devoid of callow self-comparison. Buller’s poetry only lacks self-preoccupation: he keeps himself to one side and pays tribute to all those things in life, both tangible and abstract, that have inspired him
Praise and Poems
This is the remarkable first full collection of a poet praised by Thom Gunn as one of his prime influences. Norman Buller is a superbly adroit balancer of the formalist and modernist.
Well-known before 1958, he was silent for 22 years, during which time he worked in Belfast, part of the circle including Heaney, Longley and Mahon. When he was able to write again from 1980 he was not a completely different poet, but a profoundly developed one: elegist and satirist, he refracts historical occasion to all he’s experienced, which includes the poets he’s known and worked with.
Poetry Salzburg Review No. 13 Spring 2008 by Jeremy Hilton
Envoi review, issue 152 February 2009 by Will Daunt
Article: ‘Agenda’: the long and the short of excellence in poetry – The Independent, reference to Norman Buller as a well-known voice, April 25th 2008
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