Collected Poems 1976-2016 gathers carefully chosen and reviewed texts from Peter Robinson’s nine books of poetry, to which is added a newly completed tenth collection. They include his early experiments in northern social realism, and domestic interiors coloured by the experience of sexual violence, explored in the seven lyrics that form part two of This Other Life. Here are his dialogues with Italian poetry and culture, and unforeseen encounters with Japan, all in relation to the historical vicissitudes of his home country, and the landscapes in a much-revisited Liverpool.
For the Small Mercies, published here for the first time, completes a triptych of books written since Robinson’s return after nearly two decades of working in Kyoto and Sendai, a return that, coinciding with the global financial crisis and onset of austerity culture, provided occasions for further reflections on the economic motifs of his earliest poems. Peter Robinson was called ‘the finest poet of his generation’ with the publication of Overdrawn Account (1980), and This Other Life (1988) was awarded the Cheltenham Prize.He has also been the recipient of the John Florio Prize in 2008, and two Poetry Book Society Recommendations. Described by Adam Piette as ‘the finest poet alive’ on the basis of his ‘astonishingly finely-tuned gauge for recording the pressures and processes that generate lived occasions’, his work was characterized by Roy Fisher as like ‘a listening device, alert for the moments when the tectonic plates of mental experience slide quietly one beneath another to create paradoxes and complexities that call for poems to be made.’ Here, for the first time together, are a majority of those poems.
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