After his first collection - SOFT KEYS - Michael Symmons Roberts was hailed by Les Murray as 'a poet for the new, chastened, unenforcing age of faith that has just dawned'. The metaphysical concerns of that first book are central to this new collection, written in a language at once philosophical, sensuous and lyrical. From a doctor who washes lungs to the structure of genes, from mythical hounds born to fire to a cat's-eye souvenir from a smashed-up road, the scope of this collection is impressive. Whatever the subject, these poems are concerned with elemental themes, with the mapping of experience, and the search for sparks of life at its heart. At the heart of RAISING SPARKS are two sequences - 'Smithereens' and 'Quickenings' - which form part of a continuing collaboration with the composer James MacMillan; the former set as a song cycle and the latter as amajor choral piece. These sequences - alongside intamate lyrics and dramatic meditations on creation, redemption and the end of time - show a poet of enormous range and depth.