James Byrne's second collection is both consolidation and innovation. His poems have the liberating strangeness of a true original alongside the essential recognitions we perceive only in the realm of active and serious poetics. These are exhilarating passionate crafted and intellectually-rich poems which inhabit and interpret the paradoxes of experience and imagination with masterly insight, wit and metaphoric agility. This poet operates without a safety net, walking the tightrope of language between heart and mind, understanding, with Gaston Bachelard, that 'the imagination is a form of human boldness' - Penelope Shuttle. 'James Byrne is a phenomenon and "Blood / Sugar" is astonishing. Here is a unique mytho-poetic in which the self moves in and out of focus. This is smart poetry. But one should not for a moment think that the intellectual rigour diminishes the vitality of the work. It does not. It sparkles with wit and irony. It is alive. Byrne already maintains great technical proficiency in his structuring of verse, and can move between 'traditional' and 'innovative' modes with ease. He has the tools in the toolbox, so to speak. With razor-sharp wit, an acute intellect and a superb facility with language, these poems are both culturally and intellectually 'learned', but also rhetorically and lyrically confident. Byrne is a complete original' - John Kinsella.