Mulciber is an alternative name for Vulcan, the powerful Roman god who gives and controls fires, including the liquid spirit spurting out of volcanoes and the sparks in the forging of arms and iron. It’s a strikingly apt title for Shelly Bryant’s questing verse, which feels distilled from literary metalwork, smelted from years of care and dare. There’s a molten energy to her wandering lines, sometimes venturing into ancient mythology and other times into terse, ekphrastic responses to Eastern artworks and forms. One smells danger and excitement, as she nears an actual volcano’s heart of darkness, lured by verdant overgrowth, and emerges, changed – both she and the reader.
– Yeow Kai Chai
March 2018, Singapore