This collection marks a fascinating point in the poetic career of the late Peter Redgrove, when - at the age of seventy - he decided to strike out in a thrilling new direction.
Using a liberating stepped verse form, he opens up new paths in fresh territory, while consolidating his position as one of the finest poets of the natural world. The questing eye of his imagination is in constant motion: the book is full of doors and stairs and wheels, the movement of light and water, the world's daily transformations. Even his characters are shape-changers - the doctors, dentists, chemists and undertakers are all, in their way, magicians. And, evident throughout the collection, is an undertow of mortality - notably in the extraordinarily moving poems about Redgrove's late father: 'his knowledge went, and mine followed,/ Catch it before/ It leaves like a ghost,/ on these stepped verses'.
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Redgrove's strengths are a clairvoyant creativity, glittering images and glittering risk...wonderful imaginative leaps of seeing, glancing epiphanies...or sustained surrealities which etch the surprisingness of the world - Observer
The verbal alchemy with which he transforms his observations and dreams is as assured as ever here. His talent for the erotic is equally undimmed - this book is a pleasure to surrender to - Guardian
He is recognised today as one of the few poets capable of sustained rapture, a hierophant of alchemical mysteries, chronicler of sexual ecstasies, witness to sensual, synaesthetic delights beyond the reach of most of us -
Redgrove is thunderously, exhilaratingly good -
I would use the old-fashioned term 'genius' of Redgrove -
Peter Redgrove was born in 1932. Apart from producing over thirty full-length collections of poetry he also wrote novels, plays and non-fiction - including The Wise Wound with Penelope Shuttle. Among the many awards he has received are the Guardian Fiction Prize, the Prix Italia and the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. He received an honorary degree from the University of Sheffield, which holds an archive of the poet's papers. He died in 2003. A posthumous collection, The Harper, was published in 2006.