"Hiram Larew’s fifth poetry collection was birthed during the pandemic, mostly (says the publisher’s note) during “outdoors rambles” rather than within homebound insularity. En plein air inspiration injects the verse with optimism, with a sense of hope that the awareness of collective hardship only makes keener, shinier... (READ MORE)"
Toti O’Brien, Poet
Los Angeles, California, USA
*This review first appeared in the journal, Your Impossible Voice.
"Hiram’s fifth collection, Mud Ajar (Atmosphere Press, 2021), is a stellar achievement in the musicality of originality and insight... (READ MORE)"
Mary Dezember, Ph.D, Author, Poet, Professor Emeritus of English
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
*This review first appeared in Dr. Dezember’s View.
"Hiram Larew turns loose the syllables like steam on water in his 2021 book, Mud Ajar, from Atmosphere Press. His words do not sink up in stirred up mud. At times I feel as if I can almost see through the mud, as the poet shakes form and content to create Poetry...
Shelby Stephenson, Poet
Benson, North Carolina, USA
*This review first appeared in the April issue of Pine Straw Magazine published in
Southern Pines, NC
"Larew's is a voice like no other—but then I am completely Irish who has never lived abroad long term—my ancestors obviously refused the Quaker soup and I remained O'Sullivan—the English version of 'One Eye' ( Súil Amháin) for a long time.
His work is rich in tone and gold nuggets lodged in broken teeth—fantastic broad stroke imagery but so relatable to the Irish question that I am sure he has researched his roots back to the blackberry of starvation, loss, abuse and horror that cells our skin for generations. The skies love him as he sees the moon and the moon loves him as we hear him in our hands. A fantastic collection to the past, present, future and beyond."
Catherine Ronan, Irish Poet
"I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was presented with tight little stories packaged and formatted cleverly. Being someone who enjoys brevity and also concise writing, this was the jackpot! Thanks for your efforts, Hiram. :) Full disclosure, I do follow his blog."
Susi Bocks, Editor-in-Chief, The Short of It
""Mud Ajar"- the title of poet Hiram Larew's latest compilation-Atmosphere Press, 2021. With that, Larew challenges from the start (e.g. what does mud ajar mean?) and we are in for a ride that differs from the usual offerings of blasé prose selfie poems(although his poems have plenty of "self"!Take the first poem in the book with a line like "The stars in your chest"- and proceeding through Gerard Manley Hopkins like leaps of imagery- Larew is a leaping poet- a poet that takes risks of association. The second poem has "Where most of more/ calls glowing", the third : "this candled room/ and: these light dimmed rhymes of boyhood/these limbing downs and haystacks brushed/ this plunge and smear of dawning yawns" or "where land sees just ahead/ through each and every/dangle heart." Larew does not erase meaning- but like other admirable 20th century poets (Dylan Thomas comes most to mind) (and Thomas got it from Hopkins) Larew kind of "fudges" meaning- which makes it fresh. I go to endless zooms where earnest young things give you a dear diary entry with no sense of the great tradition of (as Robert Bly called it) "leaping poetry!"
David Eberhardt, Poet
"Magic and promise slip through poems in Mud Ajar, the most recent collection by Hiram Larew.
“The stars in your chest - -
The sounds of their glow”
“these grateful urging holy stars
in your chest and now
in your throat.”
Mud Ajar is a humble book, filled with folk song, love, lore, friendship, and time; lines which
sometimes ring of Ireland: “Each rucksack view of hillsides” and “as rich as poor was.’
When Larew speaks of death, as In the Next Room Over, he manages in such a way that renders personal, yet at the same time, all encompassing, as in these breathtaking lines:
“Trust me/ Long ago when things were as simple/ as that finger in your ear/ She was a goddess/like smoke is in fall”
Larew’s spiritual tone embraces, family, home, and gardens. Mud Ajar breathes and shines like “the stars in your chest.” The title poem is an all-encompassing hymn of beauty."
Mary Morris, Author of Dear October
*This review first appeared in Fixed and Free Anthology.
"Written substantially during the recent pandemic, these poems have an easy relationship with the page and are equally easy on the ear. They are written with openness and warmth and a love of language, especially the connections between sounds, shines through.
As a result, they are commentaries as much as narratives. Their tone is both conversational and celebratory and they encourage us to explore where our everyday experience and the bigger picture connect and harmonise.
Mud Ajar is as much a cornucopia as a collection. It’s delights range from the simple enjoyment of bread and soup, Uphill, to an engaging image of Ireland where ‘the roads curve like sound’, Achill Sound. It succeeds because the poems invite us in but never quite reveal the full story. This is what draws us back to read them again and again."
Hilary Hares, Poet
"Larew's poems are psalms, driven by nature and memory, his language makes clouds
gush and twigs listen to the chorus of trees. Larew's art is an abiding love for the earth and its man-made wonders: pyramids, bread, and barley swept brooms. Larew is a seeker and seer of sentience: when all is lost, there are gentle hyperboles that give hope and illuminate the living and non-living with halos. Every poem in Mud Ajar is a tiny blessing, an invitation to embrace the sky, the perfect panacea to the unprecedented frenzy we've been engulfed by, enabling us to reflect upon our own unflinching resilience. Mud Ajar packs a wallop of truths by a skilled and unpretentious poet gifted to shower lyrical beauty upon you like holy water."
Regie Cabico, Poet & Publisher Capturing Fire Press
"Hiram Larew’s poetic voice is as distinctive as it is universal. His poems speak to the human condition with empathy and resilience and seem to be asking for the answers to the mighty and the tiny questions of life (‘These deepest loves and smallest sounds’) whilst giving the reader a sense that the answers are just within reach (‘And somehow I knew before tasting anything/tartly sweet/that that was what I wanted to be/right there …). He uses language and punctuation like a conjuror – to read his poems is to revel in the power of both. This is an assured collection that repays multiple readings."
Claire Dyer, British Novelist and Poet
"I appreciate Hiram Larew's inventive praise and verbal salutes to the Natural world and to the work of the body in gardens and fields, his sense of what it is to be alive on this Earth."
Margaret Gibson, Poet Laureate of Connecticut