Psalmody, Eyewear Publishing.
These hard-won, fragmented Welsh psalm-poems are a challenge and a delight to read, built on brokenness yet full of hope. Psalmody sings, and its song is rich and deep enough to touch despair and praise.
Psalmody announces a fresh and provocative new talent in Maria Apichella, who tackles questions of contemporary faith with the full power of her poetic voice and imagination. By turns plangent and defiant, tender and furious, plainspoken and beautifully figurative, these are absolutely psalms for the 21st century, shot through with a richly sensory daily life from which each poem emerges as a song of both celebration and struggle. At the same time the collection is an unputdownable story of love, conflict, and belief on multiple levels, and ultimately of the potential of language itself as a vehicle for transformation.
These poems of love, faith and doubt are passionate and matter-of-fact at the same time, combining the sensuous details of everyday life with glimpses of the sacred and the eternal. It’s a combination that hasn’t been heard enough in British poetry, and never in this distinctive, musical voice.
Psalmody is a book of love poems set against the backdrop of the landscape of Ceredigion. Maria Apichella adds a quality of hybrid variousness to those themes, however, by treating them with a poetic fashioned out of an American tradition of free verse open-endedness. Her rhythms and forms therefore introduce an adeptly judged interrogative and exploratory mode which keeps the poems always alive and responsive to the present moment.
Reviews of Psalmody
‘Apichella’s voice emerges, subverting biblical notions of subservient womanhood.’
I’ve never read anything quite like it.
‘God is making a comeback in contemporary poetry, and Psalmody should have an important place in that conversation.’
‘Apichella’s poetry is brave.’
‘Reading Maria Apichella’s poems in Psalmody, I was reminded of the Jesus & Mary Chain song, ‘Just like Honey’.
Apichella brings the able novelist’s forensic fascination to her account of an equally charged, but also troubled, love affair.
Paga, Cinnamon Press, 2015.
An original and compelling collection. There are jagged free verse rhythms, an expressionist colouring to the imagery, and a constant spiritual questioning, with a Jewish background. There is also a witty motif that presents a dialogue between ‘East’ and ‘West’ from an emerging poet to watch.
Reviews of Paga
The real strength of the pamphlet comes from the uncompromising and often uncomfortable way in which it weaves loss with humour whilst staying deeply human, deeply humane, throughout.
This is poetry which demands every fibre of concentration. It will make you frown, nod, smile, shiver, and – most importantly – think. The journey through the collection is fraught, but ultimately rewarding.
Paga, then, is a strong introduction to a new poet.
Poems in Journals
- Poetry Wales, Summer, 2018
- Scintilla: The Vaughan Association, Issue 19, 2016. Issue 20, 2017 & 21, 2018.
- Ofi Press Magazine, International Poetry and Fiction from Mexico City, 2016
- New Welsh Review, Issue 100 and Issue 107, 2015.
- Popshot, 2013
- Envoi, 2012.
- Magma Poetry, Issue 54, 2012
- Cadaverine Magazine, 2012.
- The James Dickey Review, 2012.
- Sentinel Literary Quarterly, 2012
- The Literary Bohemian
- Scintilla Press, Issue 2, 2011.
Poems in Anthologies
- ‘The Poet’s Quest for God: 21st Century Poems of Spirituality,’ Eyewear Publishing.
Recordings of Readings
This is a recording of an unpublished poem, The Submarine. The film was made with XI Castello di Duino Poetry.
Here I am reading alongside George Hobson who inspired me to write from an early age. This was at a festival in Canterbury, Faith & The Aesthetic, 2011.