on The Last Will and Testament of Jon Martinez de Larrumé:
This first full-length collection is an impressive accomplishment, honed in form and emotional intensity. Journeying through a range of voices, Antony Christie displays a talent for conveying both narrative momentum and the resonant moment. The last will and testament of Jon Martinez de Larrumé makes for a reading experience that, like the deep winter it powerfully celebrates, is claustrophobic and exhilarating, bleak and beautiful.
How good it is to come across this ambitious and successfully accomplished project, a first full-length collection by a poet who has been developing and perfecting his craft for years. This book focuses on Red Bay, on the Labrador coast, and the death there of a C16th Basque whaler, Jon Martinez de Larrumé. Antony Christie insists this should be read as fiction, but his obvious research into the location, the whaling industry of the time and Basque society and language give it real authenticity. While the individual pieces stand on their own, the thematic link carries you through finely wrought descriptive and meditative poems, creating an atmospheric sense of place and time. It is a book which deepens with re-reading.
on Of Love and Drowning:
Antony Christie’s poetry collection Of Love and Drowning bundles work from 1985 until the present into notions of permanency and residual hauntings. The real poetry here is in the objects, the negative space around [its] unnamed couple. By exploring memory through tropes of growth and decay, Christie moves amongst imagery where “there are gardens and half built walls/though they have dangers of their own” (56). In this sense, these poems travel through vestiges of time where people, old dogs and photographs may appear, disappear, and return as cautionary examples of how near the past is in each of our lives.
Atlantic Books Today, Canada
The poems in Of love and Drowning are rich with longing and grief, vividly alive with an unrelenting awareness of death and desire. It is a deeply intimate collection – vulnerable, loving, sensual, elegiac – that travels fearlessly across a range of potent inner states. This is a poetry of starkly defined, visually arresting details that offer, in their resonance, their own transcendence. With great sensitivity and assurance, Christie excavates and memorializes moments through language and line revered and tasted.
Kristel Thornell, Australian novelist