Blake, summoning Milton to Felpham’s Vale, envisioned ‘Realms/ Of terror & mild moony lustre in soft sexual delusions’. Starlight on an ancient ditch, the English Channel. A new place humours a shify glaze. Eyes bruised by life in the city watch the waves. News from elsewhere is too loud, in the drag of shingle, the wind. Learning to let go, let rip. Walking out. Re-remembering: Walter Sickert in Dieppe, Patrick Hamilton in Hastings. Aleister Crowley. Bram Stoker waving his stick at the sea. The Conrad gang, early-modernist solitaries, keeping their heads down. Things that don’t happen here are here all the same. Slowly urgent. ‘It’s a lot of things,’ she said, ‘but it isn’t poetry.’
Any writing by Iain Sinclair, one of our greatest modern writers, is bound to provoke and intrigue. Sinclair’s latest book of poetry is as vivid and original in its take on language and place as his track record would suggest. The presence of the sea and the human leavings (memorial, elegiac, twisted and other) at its edge, dominate the book. Highlights include sequences entitled ‘Patrick Hamilton’ and ‘Blair’s Grave’. Multiple points of view and garnished obliquities make this an irreverent, scholarly, bizarre, spookily de-familiarising and utterly engrossing read — a must for the legions of Sinclair devotees from the days of Lud Heat onwards.
‘Not even the Thousand Handed Giant could easily turn over all the poems and open half of the portals of intelligence in this book… It is one of the cliffs of Blake’s and Coleridge’s Albion sweeping against the walls of Everywhere.’
Michael McClure (on The Firewall)
‘A broken sequence of breathtakingly lovely modern free-verse lyrics.’
Jenny Turner (on Lud Heat)
‘Sinclair is an authentic visionary. Only at the end of the book, however, do we realise we’ve also been in the power of a genuine wizard, someone capable of tracing patterns and designs only barely perceptible to most people and, more to the point, able to reveal them to us.’