Adam Thorpe's fifth collection finds purpose in the discarded, the secretive, the failed. Juxtaposing creation and destruction, hope and grief - a small boy deep down a lead mine; an unlit, nocturnal path set against the 'insomniac' motorway; industrialised apples against wrinkled windfalls - his poems argue for bewilderment and 'the slight bruise of doubt'.
Whether walking an abandoned road or considering a friend's suicide, his poems remind us of our abdications, of our collapsed relationships with nature, with history, with ourselves.
There are, however, all the vestiges of connective tissue - memories and mementoes, sudden, miraculous leaps of beauty. The book is full of such traces, delicate and fugitive: the poet's grandmother retrieved through her ninety-year-old bookmark of rose petals; the unvoiced suggestion of his mother's voice on an answerphone; the memory of a vanished native chief in a Canadian mountain's shadow...
[He] writes like a man in love with language, with the sheer possibilities of words. His work is musical, brimming with slant rhyme and assonance, and also subtle in its effects
The essential element about Thorpe the poet is that he is unusual among many contemporaries for possessing a superbly honed ear for the cadences of language and speech
Thorpe's poems are finely scored for the voice, but they go beyond the recognisable into the mystical
A writer with exceptional gifts
There are never going to be many poets in any generation who leave you strapped for superlatives; excitingly, Thorpe is one of them