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Iscariot’s Dream by Gary Allen, Agenda Editions, £8.99; 80 pages

The quality of Gary Allen’s writing is impressively sustained. In the whole of Iscariot’s Dream I found hardly a page from which I couldn’t have drawn memorable quotations. From the first I was struck by the authority and resonance of his phrasing, as in the first three lines of the book:

This cushion of darkness pins us to the earth
landbound, only our thoughts rise
above the sensed outline of these buildings:

Several characteristic notes are sounded here: the combination of emphatic utterance with fluidity of syntax and metre; the cutting of a line against the syntactical grain to tauten rhythms and … Continue Reading