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Pure Filth, Aidan Mathews' fifth volume of poetry, follows upon Windfalls (Dolmen, 1977), Minding Ruth (Gallery, 1983), According to the Small Hours (Cape, 1998) and Strictly No Poetry (Lilliput, 2017). At its heart, the collection is about reflections on a career and sustained loves for people, God and art, with themes threaded throughout such as the pandemic, suburban Dublin, Irish landscape and history and the Holocaust. His critic and biographer David Wheatley says:'It is no exaggeration to say that Mathews does not have themes so much as obsessions.
If his Catholic faith provides the ground base for all his work, sexuality, mental illness and the Holocaust recur in poem after poem, stitching together the quotidian and the extreme ... Synthesizing the sexual, the sacred, and the secular, Mathews' poetry is a testament of great personal power, answerable to the cloister and the locked ward, the social lepers and the captains of the ship of state.' (Irish Poetry, Wake Forest 2017)
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