In this strikingly varied first collection, Paul Batchelor travels from a laboratory in Hokkaido to the Black Sea steppe, from the mythical Ireland of Mad King Sweeney to the shattered landscape of post-war Germany. The poems he brings back are haunted by a series of memorable talismans: a synthetic snow crystal, an ebony cigarette holder, and the last spray of honesty in a Northumberland B&B. His “Sinking Road” is language itself, taking the reader across the border from present-day concerns to threatened or threatening histories, like that of Gilgamesh, the arrogant warlord, or Ovid, the poet in exile.
These meticulously crafted, emotionally charged poems draw on a wide range of poetic traditions to confront, celebrate and question ‘this life, this crucible of accidents’.
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