The poems in Adam Thorpe's latest collection are concerned with the continuum between two worlds: the lived present and the felt past. With the attentive care of an archaeologist he uncovers and examines fragments - from a personal history or the historic past - and rebuilds the narrative: a fossil in Hitler's stadium, a wedding photograph, marks on the wall where an eighteenth-century priest was shot. With formal dexterity and rhythmic assurance, these versatile, subtle poems investigate the vertiginous dynamic of history - where a shard of stone stands for civilisation, where a silver of memory becomes a life re-lived. After nine years, during which time he has emerged as one of Britain's most powerful and innovative novelists, Adam Thorpe now returns - triumphantly - to poetry.
Writer with exceptional gifts.
Verve and intelligence... a beauty of feeling and language.
Excellent... Thorpe's poems are finely scored for the voice, but they go beyond the recognisable into the mystical.
Erudite, observant, an artist with the language.
It's hard to imagine greater skill or concision... There are never going to be many poets in any generation who leave you strapped for superlatives; excitingly, Thorpe is one of them.