Flying School is a book of beautifully crafted poems about the contrivances by which we attempt to enrich or repair our lives. One dominant image is flight and, more specifically, parachutes – reflecting an aspiration to come to terms with our hardest challenges, including the reality of death. e book ends with a series of heartbreaking elegies for the poet’s father, unflinching in their grief-stricken gaze.
Poems about Paul Nash and Stanley Spencer musing on their art and subversive pastorals on our loss of biodiversity extend Saxton’s focus into new areas. ere are dramatic monologues too – a returning cosmonaut disappointed not to be more generously treated; a Polynesian ambassador in Venice in the time of Casanova; a young man who falls for a girl in the American ‘Neverglades’ and serves with her brother in Viet Nam.
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