The Icon Maker

The Icon Maker, Paul Stubbs, Arc Publications, 2008

The poetry of Paul Stubbs presents an original and unorthodox re-evaluation of religion and human existence, powered by a visionary impulse which, in The Icon Maker, sees the principal theological players in a world ‘beyond’ religion called to account and made to face uncomfortable transformation into corporeal beings.

Resolute atheist, jaded sinner, ecclesiastical man – all are the poet’s targets, and in this fine second collection, we encounter a poet working uncompromisingly with language, hounding it to keep it awake and to take on the unrefined materials of his imagination.

“Stubbs’ is a poetry complementing the paintings of Francis Bacon, the plays of Beckett and Pinter. A voice as distinctively original as the later W.S. Graham.” Matt Simpson

The Icon Maker (Arc Publications, 2008) 106 pages
ISBN: 978 1904614 517 (pbk)
ISBN: 978 1904614 98 2 (hbk)

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“Stubbs is one of very few living poets whose work I go back to.” 

— Alice Oswald

“Stubbs is offering something radically new in contemporary British poetry. “

— Ian Pople, The North, Issue 42, Oct 2008

“There is something of the late R.S. Thomas at large in Stubbs’ work for sure, especially in the subversive religiosity. There’s even a whisper of Les Murray in his to-the-glory-of-god mode, even a touch of Geoffrey Hill, even Eliot, but in the end, Stubbs is very much his own man, talking his own talk. (…) page for page this is a remarkable book, its diction, its philosophical and metaphysical encounters, unlike any collection I have seen for years.

— Tim Liardet, The Warwick Review, December 2008

“Every now and then a poet appears who seems to be trying to find a new role for poetry itself; Stubbs’ poems contain concrete images of mythic power. He is driven by a concept and a theme that is large and demanding. But in his hands, it is not a questioning of Theology, but is an interrogation of the nature of the void that the lack of religious underpinning has left.”

— Graham High Poetry Salzburg, N°15, Spring 2009

“Paul Stubbs is that rare thing, a poet who feeds on the great themes which have been only nibbled at by most, a poet who is not afraid to take a risk of exposing his flanks through daring advances. Sustained on a European sensibility and a deep reading of key classical and mythological texts, Stubbs writes with assuredness and gravity and most importantly unlike anyone else. Like the growing number of those who are aware of that very necessary shot in the arm to English poetry delivered by the vision of Paul Stubbs, I look forward with anticipation to his third collection which promises to take his themes and subject beyond the miraculous achievement of The Icon Maker.”

— Will Stone, Agenda Poetry Magazine, 2009 – read the review

“The muscular lines, the moral seriousness and the passion for metaphysics in the poetry of Paul Stubbs are all reminiscent of the work of Geoffrey Hill.”

— Keith Richmond, Tribune 23 Jan 09

“Paul Stubbs writes like nobody, but nobody in contemporary British poetry. For influences you have to go to European poets like Georg Trakl, Gottfried Benn, Janos Pilinszky, Ungaretti, all of whom provide epigraphs for poems in this his second collection.(…) This is Cormac McCarthy’s end-of-the-world scenario taken further and played out against a cosmic backcloth. (…) Stubbs is a highly distinctive and original poet, one whose voice has to be listened to.”

— Matt Simpson, Stride Magazine, 2008

“The journey of Paul Stubbs’s second book of poems The Icon Maker is the journey that awaits us on the other side of our conventional religious and atheistic faiths, it is a book that deals with the inevitable communal emotional fallout that attends such realizations, and a book of the future, in that it apprehends and overcomes the subtle flexing of dogmas, as they present themselves to us in the 20th century world.”

— Andrew O’Donnell, The Fiend magazine, 2010

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  1. […] The Icon Maker, Arc Publications […]

  2. […] a review of his previous collection The Icon Maker (Arc Publications, 2008) I called Stubbs an ‘Iconoclastic Visionary’ for, in his verse, he sets […]

  3. […] have had a copy of Pauls Stubbs’s second published volume, The Icon Maker (Todmorden: Arc Publications, 2008), kicking around for a couple of years now. Occasionally I […]

  4. […] has two significant previous collections to his name. The Theological Museum, 2006 (Flambard) and The Icon Maker, 2008 (Arc). In these works Stubbs cemented his reputation for unconventional ‘unscripted’ […]

  5. […] The Icon Maker, Arc Publications, 2008 […]

  6. […] The Icon Maker, Arc Publications, 2008 […]

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