Visiting the Minotaur


Claire Williamson

Claire Williamson’s poems in ‘Visiting the Minotaur’ are evidence of her adventures into the labyrinth of her past in a difficult and sometimes violent family. To uncover the truths she craves, she reconstructs circumstances, often borrowing characters from myths or paintings or legends, in order to come to terms with the dark facts of her childhood.

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Claire Williamson has written a vivid collection of poems: Visiting the Minotaur, full of artful reflections, refractions and re-workings of incidents that reveal a fraught childhood and adolescence, a family riddled with dark secrets and tragedy, and her ensuing quest to escape this legacy and create a happier household for her own family.

Each poem fashions its own wordscape of love and loss. Sometimes the author borrows from classic mythology. The image of the minotaur, the beast in the labyrinth, recurs and helps the poet come to terms with and exorcise the violence she experienced as a child. Other useful analogies are found in cubist paintings or etchings, such as the Picasso that inspired the title poem.

The labyrinth is sometimes the screen of secrets that keep the author from discovering the facts of her identity (‘Red Herrings’), sometimes it is the
Streets of Bristol where the young protagonist has run to escape her difficult family (‘Brizzle’), sometimes it is the formal strategies the author uses to convey her various themes, the stepped or broken lines, the fractured stanzas.

There are some well-observed poems about the physical aspects of motherhood that add to the literature of that genre. Women will concur with the paradox of ‘Breastfeeding’ where one side is agony and the other, bliss. The poems are not without considerable humour, delicate ironies, tender observations and just plain fun. ‘Cows’ get their splendid moment in the “lemon light”, and we meet ‘Laika’ the first dog in outer space.

Additional information

Weight 84 g
Dimensions 21.6 × 13.8 × 0.6 cm











821.92 (edition:23)


General – Trade / Code: K