39 Ways of Looking

ISBN 0 9541573 4 6
Published 2005
200 x 130 mm: 72 pp: softback with coloured cover.
Price: £9.99 plus £1.50 postage and packing

Each of the 39 poems of the title sequence of this fourth collection stands alone as an account of an individual experience or perception. Together, they follow a train of thought which moves through various forms of uncertainty towards glimpses of the authentic.

They visit many different landscapes, including a redwood forest in California, a glacial valley in Iceland, a Zen garden in Kyoto and a Quaker chapel. They also look at the vision of artists, writers and sculptors such as Michelangelo, Goya, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Magritte, Victor Hugo, Walt Whitman, Henry Moore and Anthony Gormley. Special attention is given to those who, in conditions of tyranny, preserve a vision of truth and integrity the German sculptor Barlach, Primo Levi, Galileo, Garcia Lorca, Shostakovich.

Three shorter sequences follow, each of five poems. The first, The Automatic Self, looks at the strangely alien processes of out autonomic nervous system. The second, Night Watch, explores the boundaries of illusion and reality within dreams. The third, Worlds Apart, shows how different world views emerge in maps of different periods.

The volume concludes with four atmospheric poems on landscape, and with a riddle.

Michael Hamburger identified ‘a most magnanimous and intelligent way of looking’ in this collection.

Six poems from the collection follow:

Quarter Dollar

Rain in Iceland

Luther at the Wartburg

Primo Levi’s Chemistry

Kyoto Garden

Open the Atlas