Poems (2007)

stars-5-0.gifStunningly Brilliant

Choosing to stay with traditional forms of versification and particularly focussing on spiritual themes, the richness of his mind and the precision of his expression combine to cover a huge range of human experiences with profound honesty, often with a wry sense of humour, honest sensuality and a compassionate regard for whatever subject matter he enriches.

His insights into the human condition both startle and delight. He is a major poet with exceptional talent that grows with everything he writes.

Ė Mr D F Nash, Amazon UK

 

 

 

New Poems (2006)

stars-5-0.gifSuperb and unique

Andrew Staniland has a voice like no other poet currently writing in English. He writes in verse that is polished, romantic, reminiscent of a great 19th-century poet like Keats, yet his sensibility is lustrously contemporary. These are poems to roll around the tongue and relax on in the mind. A wonderful writer, and a great discovery.

Ė B. Fryer, Amazon US

 

 

 

The Beauty Of Psyche

This is an unusual and unique work of fiction. Itís certainly not going to suit everyone and I donít for a minute think Iíll be able to do justice of it in a review. But I do think itís an important work, and an important work of contemporary art. Itís a modern prose poem but such a description does little to indicate its true depth. Staniland is in control of his medium throughout and challenges the reader to go along with him. The overt stance of the author is refreshing. He points out fairly early on ĎI am free to write whatever I imagineí and reading The Beauty of Psyche is like being allowed to connect in a deeply personal way with another personís imagination. I both respected that and enjoyed the experience. He sets up his stall early by pointing out that heís painting with his imagination but the whole impact of that statement takes the entire work to fully comprehend.

He is a poet, I can spot that straight away Ė I think only poets have the commitment to and command of language in its pure form. In its entirety The Beauty of Psyche is beautiful; throughout the work he draws pictures with words. You roll the paragraphs round in your mouth like fine wine. You drink in the words with your eyes. It begs to be read out loud. The sum of a prose poem seems here to be so much more than the combination of the parts. Itís a fusion of art forms. A juxtaposition of writer, artist, actors, mythmakers and theatre. A collision of creative worlds all imagined by the writer. And I relished it.

 

Reading this I felt the excitement and pleasure of those long Romantic poems by Keats, Shelley and Byron or even Pope and Milton but itís not Ďlikeí any of them. It is not a modern version of a classic, it is a modern classic. I felt like Iíd spent an afternoon on the sofa with Shelley himself.

 

But he deals with contemporary issues as well. Thereís descriptions of the publishing industry, and the expressed belief that good literature engages with your imagination. The ever present author explains that ĎI paint clothes on the human characters. But gods are gods. I dramatise their divinity.í The compelling analogies between painting, writing and theatre were an absolute revelation to me. Staniland paints with the imagination. Deliberately. And explains his process to you, drawing you into a consideration of the creative process in all its dimensions. I have never read anything like this in my life Ė and it really excites me. His comment on art is Any work of art aspires to an absolute realism. To be its own reality. It is fatuous to reduce this work of art to a subject of debate, but one feels that one is studying literature rather than just reading it.

 

He turns his consideration to how we Ďspend our livesí. Itís very deep. Itís something for people who like to STUDY literature. Itís not a Ďpage turnerí in the conventional way. Itís something you want to savour, to think about and to ponder at every turn. He sets up a dynamic model of narrative which then presents an ending which is dynamic rather than dramatic. A blank ending. Playing with form. Showing us that Our lives are also outside us. It is all our own work.

Itís working on several different levels, and then some. The interrelatedness of the creative processes employed Ė from the mythic Ďtaleí to the Ďauthorialí role to the contemporary reportage of the Ďactorsí perspective, give a depth and uniqueness to this incredible creative statement.

 

Itís as far removed from genre fiction as it is possible to get. Itís a genuine literary work of art. A true contemporary classic. Itís beautiful, itís intelligent and I donít imagine Iíll ever read anything like it again.

 

I loved it. Itís hard not to put a personal slant on it because it engages you in such an intimately person way. I donít know who else this will appeal to Ė it has the poetic charisma of making me feel he is speaking only to me. Of course itís an acquired taste. Itís intellectual marmite, or truffles. If youíve ever been moved by long Romantic poetry, if youíve ever been captivated by classical theatre, if myths and classical forms and imaginative beauty attract you, I urge you to read this.

 

For Staniland Inspiration is an adventure in the imagination and if you are open enough to buy into this vision you will be richly rewarded.

 

Ė Cally Phillips, indie e-book review

 

stars-5-0.gifThe Genius of Psyche

The finely crafted, lyrical prose of this novel is cause enough to recommend it. Its brilliance, though, lies in the author's tantalising exposition of the myth of Psyche as an allegory for the modern spiritual life. Eschewing any straightforward reinterpretation of the myth in a contemporary milieu the author favours the retention of the classical purity of the original, but recounts it against a lusciously vivid series of imaginary backdrops derived from some of the great works of art that have themselves taken Psyche for their inspiration. Ingeniously, he then makes accessible the themes of the myth by presenting the whole drama as a piece of imaginative theatre performed and intimately appreciated by a group of actors, whose inner worlds the author reveals through another level of relationship, by interposing his own personal connection with them. The result is a fascinatingly multi-faceted and graceful dance between the myth, the actors who play its dramatis personae and the author to reveal the inner beauty of spiritual experience. The author's intuitive touch in the interpretation of this myth, the casting of his characters and the congruities of his imagined stage sets are as masterly as they are subtle. His obvious sense of fun makes this novel a joy to read, and his delight in the detail of everyday life brings the myth authentically to life. "Genius isn't an infinite gift", the author comments, "We should be grateful for it". This novel is a work of genius and I am grateful to have read it.

Ė Tony Doubleday, Amazon UK

stars-5-0.gifBrilliant Poetic Novel

What a wonderful book. So affirmative, so effortlessly good. It has great warmth and an unfailing sharpness. It is paradoxical in its expressive lucidity: taking on the inexpressible, the sublime, the whatever, the allever. This wonderful multi-levelled return to the loveliness of the myth has a relevance to everything. The style is radiant and deeply infectious but inimitable. This is surely pure neo-Keatsian post-modernism. The references reach out everywhere and the occasional aphorisms have an exactness of wit in every sense of that loaded word.

Everyone who loves poetry, has hope for the inexhaustibility of the novel form, is possessed of a sense of humour and is not unfamiliar with how gentle irony can be, should, must, has to buy this brilliant book.

Ė Mr D F Nash, Amazon UK

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Staniland's style is beautiful, original, open and rigorous. His books are compelling, and no more so than his sensuous novel 'The Weight of Light' that traces a woman's journey of growth and transformation. The tightly crafted prose is somehow light and lucid and, with effortless skill, Staniland's words burst open a world of memory and recognition for the reader.

If 'The Weight of Light' is delicately rendered in charcoal, then Staniland uses a sturdier palette in 'The Beauty of Psyche', painting such vivid, bold, and memorable characters in a witty and startlingly imaginative 're-make' of the myth. It is easy to drink up the pages quickly but Staniland's language, like poetry, deepens on reading again. Profound, incredible stuff.

Ė kategowar, Amazon UK

 

 

 

The Weight Of Light

stars-5-0.gifAn Extraordinary Novel

I've just finished this wonderful novel. Words fail me but I'll try. It is magnificent, subtle, profoundly beautiful and totally extraordinary.

It is written so exactly yet with such compassion. I have never read anything before that so successfully explores the contours and dimensions of spiritual practice. It is, in turns, (and often altogether in the same sentence) wise, humorous, deeply moving, generous and lyrical.

The originality and confidence of the writing is beautifully crafted, both structure and narrative. And exploding with wisdom and joy.

It has an encompassing originality - or what are for me such lovely gentle juxtapositions of ideas.

It is a book about the Light which could only be written by someone who is of the Light.

Ė Mr D F Nash, Amazon UK

I never realised daily routine like getting up, switching off the alarm clock or just getting ready for work can be expressed so beautifully. Delphine Romand is a single French woman living in London. The book is about her thoughts, work, friends, music, relationships, family and her life. The author makes you fall in love with words and Delphine's world. That he is a poet gives Staniland the added advantage. His visual style of writing makes the characters come alive. He has a unique style. He uses extremely short sentences, disregards the regular novel format, rebelling against convention, adding almost a lyrical quality to the book.

The story is not a poem but prose, though the poetic quality is unmistakable. It isn't narrated directly like Alfred Noyes' poem "The Highwayman" nor is the meaning disguised like Robert Frost's beautiful poem "Nothing gold can stay". It is a novel that manages to meet midway between the two with a dash of humour. The digs at New Age gurus will make you grin. If you are unmarried or single, you will be able to relate to portions of the world and thoughts of Delphine or her friends. If you are married, it will remind you of someone in your circle of friends or acquaintances whom you may have wondered about. It is almost uncanny how the author has managed to get into a woman's head.

The book reminded me of Bryan Adams' song "Have you ever really loved a woman?". If you thought literary fiction was boring or just picturesque speech as I did, you will be pleasantly surprised after you read this uniquely lyrical book!

Ė Deepa Kandaswamy, Windows and Aisles

 

 

 

Four Plays

stars-5-0.gifClassical, pungent, witty, impassioned

A blank verse classical tragedy with some cracking lines; a pungent exploration of the role and value of art in society; a witty and allusive comedy of the writing life with laugh-out-loud instincts; an impassioned plea for tolerance across divides of belief and prejudice... a rigorous but generous talent is at work here. Warmly intelligent, oscillating effortlessly between irony and sympathy and shot through with Staniland's trademark humanity, these four plays impress and delight.

Ė Nostromo, Amazon UK

 

 

 

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