What others have said...
In The Life of Metrical and Free Verse in Twentieth-century Poetry (Macmillan/St Martin's, 1997) Jon Silkin discusses the sequence 'Little Girl Asleep' (from Talitha Cumi; Bloodaxe, 1983; reprinted in Cicadas in Their Summers; Carcanet, 1988).
Brief review extracts...
'Darkness Inside Out is [Rodney Pybus'] eighth book of poems and it is particularly welcome since it seems long overdue. It is a substantial volume, with over forty poems, representing nearly twenty years of creative work. There is a wide range of styles here, from the conversationally demotic, to quite formal, measured verse. There's also an interesting variety of forms of address, both to the reader and, internally as it were, to the poet himself. In John Stuart Mill's sense, Pybus' work is a poetry that often seems 'overheard', where we are listening to a complex inner debate, that, again in Mill's fine phrases, "cuts channels for thought, [and] traces more deeply, broadly, and distinctly, those into which the current has spontaneously flowed."
Darkness Inside Out is arranged in four distinct sections, as if at some time these have been thought of as possibly separate volumes. The sections are Leaves from Each Tree, which displays the variety of Pybus' recurrent concerns; Down on the Cape which draws inspiration from a trip to South Africa; Back to the Future which explores the interweaving of personal and public histories, and Still a Way from Good Hope, which pulls together many of the issues raised and fits them into a moral and creative response to the world we find ourselves in. (Eric Northey, in Notre Dame Review 36, USA)
'... expertise and literary skill are beautifully balanced, and nowhere more so than in the wonderfully evocative 'Pieces of Fire and Heaven'... The second half of the book [Flying Blues], 'Words of a Feather', is more remarkable still: here Pybus has taken two treacherous forms -- the verse novel and the epistolary novel -- and combined them in an 80-page fictional narrative: it looks like pretentious folly and turns out to be a stunning success.' (Neil Powell, in Poetry Review)
'Those familiar with Pybus's previous work will recognise the emergence, from the chrysalis of The Loveless Letters, of a new species: the epistolary verse novella... in this exceptional collection [Flying Blues].' (Patrick McGuinness, in PN Review)
'The Loveless Letters
is a great advance in my opinion... [the poems] add up to an extremely
substantial collection.' (Melvyn Bragg, BBC Radio, Kaleidoscope)
(The Loveless Letters)... brilliantly recorded in a strenuous, convincingly muscular verse... an enterprise of admirable scope... shot through with the inspiration of a southern light.' (John Mole, in the TLS)
'Rodney Pybus is one of the most exciting poets I have read for a long time. His book Bridging Loans teems with ideas, with imagination and emotional vigour.' (Carol Treloar, in 24 Hours, Sydney)
'In style and subject-matter enterprisingly diverse, encompassing naturalism and fantasy, Pybus is never egocentric... his writing is charged and trenchant, that of a substantial poet.' (Andrew Waterman, in PN Review)
'... one of the British poets who is striving to bring back some of the scale and adventurousness that has been rather thin on the ground over the past twenty years... (Bridging Loans) reveals someone writing at full tilt... the product of ambitious energy... the emotional centre of his art is statement, poised and direct, with a lucidity that hurts.' (Desmond Graham, in Stand)
'There are some excellent poems in this volume [In Memoriam Milena],
the best of them fed by a sense of violent forces which the spare,
precise language nonetheless holds firmly in place; and there is a vein
of sardonic psychological realism, too, edged with a darkly humorous
(Times Literary Supplement)