* You are viewing the archive for January, 2013

Adam Thorpe, Voluntary – Sophisticated art and deep feeling

Voluntary, by Adam Thorpe. Jonathan Cape. 70 pp. £10.00

Long sentences subtly inflected by metre and stanza pattern are characteristic of Adam Thorpe’s style and essential to what he does. He’s a poet of complex, nuanced reflection, a poet who weaves things together rather than isolating them, who makes you feel whole sequences of ideas taking light from, generating and collapsing into others. The deepest pleasures and illuminations of his writing are to be found in following these long tracking movements of feeling and thought.

Take this from “The Swimming Pool (Kinshasa, 1968)”:

Our gardener would rake its gloom
like a patch … Continue Reading

James Fenton, “At the Kerb” – public and private

My feelings about James Fenton’s elegy for Mick Imlah are still divided.

You can find the text at http://www.poetrymagazines.org.uk/magazine/record.asp?id=25361

In Yellow Tulips: Poems 1968 – 2011 the poem appears with the dedication “i.m. Mick Imlah”.

The appearance of Yellow Tulips is a major publishing event and there’s a great deal in “At the Kerb” that I admire very much indeed, both for its sheer accomplishment and for its imaginative daring. To take the last point, how many modern English poets would dare write in such an overtly artificial way, starting a poem with the syntactical inversion of the first three words … Continue Reading