Todd Turner’s second book, Thorn, is an expansive and intimate collection whose poems open out with a strong and developed voice to encompass a broad range of subject matter. There are odes and elegies, stunning evocations of birds and animals, a sequence of elegant engagements with the work of inﬂuential poets, the rough and tumble of personal history and deep immersions in place. This is a poet with a reverence for the power of language who engages the large and small particulars of the world with intense resolve and resounding clarity.
“Poetry can be understood as a visceral way of using language and Todd Turner’s second book goes in this direction. He has a wider experience to draw on than most poets – a horseman and boxer on one side, a craftsman who creates artistic jewellery for a living on the other. He is better read than most contemporary poets and is respectful of the tradition which he draws on freely. He seems to me outstanding among his generation.”
“A second book always gives readers a chance to see what in the first book was central and what was tangential, stuff to be got out of the way before moving on in one’s poetic career. And Todd Turner’s Thorn begins by making an immediate connection to its predecessor, Woodsmoke. The last poem of that book called “Fieldwork” in a deliberate reference to Seamus Heaney’s poem (and the book it gives its title to) was an extended move down into the detritus of a forest floor, into the lives of beetles and their larvae, nesting in the rotting remains of dead birds. It summarises the recurrent images of leaf-rot and its inhabitants which recur in the poems of that book. But it’s also about the searching as much as the symbolic significance of creative decay, the foul rag and bone shop of a particular heart, and perhaps it’s also about the limits of poetic knowledge.”
MARTIN DUWELL, Australian Poetry Review