Hattaway’s signature pared-back style reveals the starkness at the heart of life experiences – family connections, expectations, disappointments, grief. The detached voice, now teasing the reader with deadpan wit, now teetering cheerfully on the abyss, unflinchingly gazes upon ‘sadness/at the heart of things’ yet emerges resilient, resisting, surviving.
“In this collection, Hattaway is speaking to us from the shadows. These poems are tunnels into darkness, while reminding us also that ‘we do not do these things alone’. The poet does not tell us what we want to hear, but asks questions ‘like ratbites that fester and swell’. This is a collection of probing, reflective poems, with flickers of light at the end of their dark tunnels.”
“Ross Hattaway’s new collection Plain lays bare the shadowy ambiguities with which every
life, if truth were told, is riddled. There is a glorious flat wit to many of these poems, which fizz like some strange sherbet sweet. Hattaway is an adept satirist of the small, but crucial, things of life such as boiled cabbage and ratatouille. His evocation of the darkness that lies just beyond every life may be Larkinesque. But whereas Larkin often seemed a man awaiting the arrival of his own coffin, in Hattaway’s poems the blood still absolutely pumps.”