Adam Thorpe's fourth collection continues his engagement with history: the living continuum that connects us with our near and distant past, nourishing and illuminating our present. Here are traces left of presence: Indian scratchings on rock, the nail-marks of destroyed frescoes, spoken fragments of war memories - petroglyphs that function as both memorials and re-awakenings, traceable with the finger of the imagination. And here, too, are images of the stilled, the stopped life: a snowed-up village, the paralysed victim of motor-neurone disease, a soft drink fermented in an old village cafe.
From this rueful equilibrium of mid-life, Thorpe circles his own personal history, allowing regret and anticipation their Janus-like say. These are erudite, generous poems, formally versatile yet rich in startlingly original observation and a natural lyric grace. Performing his unique archaeology on lives lived, Adam Thorpe once again displays the range of his imagination and the depth of his humanity.
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
He is a powerful lyric poet, able to evoke place in the manner of Geoffrey Hill
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
Verve and intelligence - a beauty of feeling and language