‘Does space exist?’ asks the poet, whose new title suggests the startling image of a poem as a remote control: ‘If a poem could make the crossing / between thought and life…’ In the title sequence she seeks ways of touching an absent son ‘across the latitudes / and lapse of years’. These poems lie at the core of a psychological journey, which starts in the opening section with landscapes of feeling, friendship, loss. Images of remoteness recur: a climber lost in a blizzard; estranged lovers; the stars. The last section brings to life an imaginary sculptor in stone, with an eye ‘blue as the distance’, who chisels ‘his slow passage through the underworld’. But always distance is bridged, and earthed, by the grip of hands, by the immediacy of the felt world, and by the reach of the imagination.
“Everywhere the power of experience emerges in the nuances of seeing, focused observations that combine openness and immersion. Saunders shows the world cherished by our watchfulness, life lived in rapt attention.”
“… poems whose marvellous collective effect is simultaneously to quieten and energise the mind.”
“quiet, cool, unshowy … There are no fireworks here, only “a shock of stars” and “pixels of shattered memory” […] The strongest poems in the first section … move beyond description of landscape and weather into profound explorations of time and memory.”