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Portents abound in The Hunter, George Murray's distillation of the modern nightmare and his third collection of poems. While its predecessor, the widely acclaimed The Cottage Builder's Letter, owes much of its intensity to the acute sense of place that animates many of its poems, The Hunter is a tour through a feverish dream-world in which the governing principles are myth, history, and fear.
The Hunter's poems are fables and monologues, written in metrically placid two- or three-line stanzas, which use parables and symbolic language to appraise evil and the persistence of the human. The result reads something like a wordier version of Paul Celan's verse, or perhaps Ted Hughes in his moments of abstracted pessimism. Murray's language isn't quite up to sustaining this kind of writing for the entirety of The Hunter. When his poems are working, he delivers indelible ideas ("Perhaps / we should cut the world's flagpoles / in half and be done with it.") but many of these poems are marred by lapses into worn-out figurative language ("Enjoy these light-headed moments / because eventually your / eyes will feel as heavy as stones.") It is unfair to judge The Hunter's prophetic verse too hastily, for it is the kind of poetry that will, after 10 or 15 years, seem either era-defining or merely pretentious. In the meantime, Murray's dark dreams are open to anyone with the curiosity and determination to explore their phantasmagoric trappings--not to mention the courage to face their dire conclusions. --Jack Illingworth
“There is a beauty within the poetic language.…This beauty is what makes The Hunter a compelling read. At this watershed moment in history, we are all looking for the beauty that lies somewhere beneath the ugliness of history and the ominous tone of prophecy.”
–Quill & Quire
“He has the poet’s instinct, the knack for turning a good phrase and the verbal grit and suppleness to keep the reader engaged. . . . An important talent.”