The Japanese art of ‘Kintsugi’, the use of gold or other materials to repair and decorate broken pottery, provides the underlying theme of this collection. Time, memory, place and love become the agents that break, bind and repair throughout. The first section explores the connotations and impact of ‘place’ . As if to emphasise the ‘kin’ in ‘Kintsugi’, poems in the second section describe the perspectives, stresses and occasional breakages of being a parent and a child but remind us, too that such relationships offer ‘new coastlines of experience’. The third section meditates on objects and their protean meanings.
Isi Unikowski’s restless poems never allow the reader to become complacent. When we get on board, we rarely know where these poems are heading, yet when they arrive there, the destination seems right, almost inevitable. Simultaneously sober and compassionate, these poems are constantly surprising, moving swiftly between narrative, association and the vernacular with almost casual control. Walking a tightrope between what the poet sees and the way these observations settle in the mind, Kinstugi is a unique and welcome addition to literature in this country.
— John Foulcher
Highly observant in its engagement with the quotidian, richly inventive in its imagemaking, and powerful in its conjuring of time, Isi Unikowski’s Kintsugi focuses on dynamic insights and transformations while inviting the reader to share occasions of contemplation and joy — including the pleasures that beautifully wrought language may provide. This book reveals a complexity born from an engagement with the real and the ‘golden joinery’ that repairs and celebrates our personal histories.
— Paul Hetherington