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Review – Jamie McKendrick, Selected Poems

Jamie McKendrick, Selected Poems, 160pp, £ 12.99, Faber and Faber.

In some ways I wished these poems could have been given in reverse chronological order. Starting with “Out There”, “The Carved Buddha”, “The Meeting House” or “The Literalist”, a new reader would have begun with a poet at the height of his powers. These are four poems you can reread endlessly for the beauty of their writing and the constantly changing shimmer of suggestion within and between them. Their relaxed style draws its strength from finely honed prosodic skill. Each has an imaginative spaciousness that belies its brevity, moving effortlessly between … Continue Reading

Jamie McKendrick, Out There, 64 pp, £9.99 paperback, Faber and Faber Ltd

McKendrick’s poetry is brilliant at making you feel the prosaic physical substance of things. It’s learned, crammed with fascinating snippets of information. The tone tends to be dry, sceptical, downbeat. He’s a wit whose mind keeps leaping off in unexpected directions. All these qualities gave me great pleasure in themselves. More, they act as foil to and somehow a validation of brief bursts of soaring or piercing lyricism.

Here’s the title poem:

If space begins at an indefinite zone
where the chance of two gas molecules colliding
is rarer than a green dog or a blue moon
then that’s as near as we … Continue Reading