Poetry Review: How Snow Falls by Craig Raine


How Snow Falls by Craig Raine
Atlantic Books (ebook), 2010
128 Pages

Poet’s Wikipedia Page

Amazon (UK)



In his first poetry collection for a decade, Craig Raine addresses themes of transformation in human nature and the natural world and confronts the quiddities of death and sex, memory and desire, commemoration and love. At the core of How Snow Falls are four long poems that explore the possibilities of the form; there are two ardent elegies, one for the poet’s mother and one for a dead lover; a sparkling reworking of Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s story In a Grove; last a ‘film-poem’, High Table. These poems are sometimes joyous, often moving, and always turn an unflinching gaze on the world. Taken together, this collection reawakens us to forgotten worlds and gives voice to the hidden language of existence. As Raine writes in ‘Night’: ‘don’t give way to drowsiness, poet. / You are the pledge we give eternity / and so the slave of every second.’



Like the unshaven prickle
of a sharpened razor,

this new coldness in the air,
the pang

of something intangible.
Filling our eyes,

the sinusitis of perfume
without the perfume.

Poems included:

How Snow Falls
 I Remember My Mother Dying
 Rashomon
 In Hospital
 Night
 La Medica Harkevitch
 Three Poems After Willem Van Toorn
 Words Upon The Window Pane
 A Festive Poem For Albie Marber
 51 Ways To Loose A Balloon
 Ars Poetica
 Venice
 Those No-Doubt-About It Infidelity Blues
 Davos Documentary B&W
 L.F. Rosen: Three Poems
 Marcel’s Fancy-Dress Party
 High Table
 For Pat Kavanagh
 On The Slopes


How Snow Falls is the first collection I’ve read by Craig Raine. It certainly won’t be my last. This is one of the best collections of poetry I’ve read in ages.

I absolutely loved this collection. Raine writes the kind of poems I adore – rich, vivid, startling and memorable. Every poem was a joy to discover. I could easily have read a collection of the poet’s work two or three times the length of this one. How Snow Falls is my favourite poem in the collection. It made me cry like a baby. I enjoyed every poem but my favourites were I Remember My Mother Dying, Three Poems After Willem Van Toorn, 51 Ways To Loose A Balloon, Those No-Doubt-About It Infidelity Blues and High Table.

I’d highly recommend this collection and really look forward to reading more from this poet.




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