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The Wrecking Light

by Robin Robertson

eBooks of the Month Poetry

LoveReading View on The Wrecking Light

Shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award 2010.

Costa Book Awards 2010 Judges' comment:
"A rich, myth-drenched collection of poems from the dark side of life that perform beautiful surgery on the human heart."


Shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry 2010.


The Poetry Book Society view...

“I am almost never there, in these / old photographs” begins ‘Album’, the first poem in Robin Robertson’s fourth collection of poetry, The Wrecking Light, though the poet’s shadow and ghost proceeds to cross and re-cross familiar concerns and territorial haunts in this new work. The lyric voice here is as implacable and uncompromising as we’ve come to expect, though Robertson really notices things and is a formidable renderer of the concrete and sensual.
It should also be acknowledged that this book – indeed, all of his books – benefit from his sense of trajectory and organisation: here, in The Wrecking Light, three figures for water arrange the poems into a tripartite structure. This new collection also demonstrates great formal range, exhibiting short lyrics and longer narratives, encompassing domesticity but also its disintegration, and the allure of wilder places, able to draw deeply on every stage of a life lived but also willing - as we’ve seen so convincingly before - to work in a mythological framework.


The Wrecking Light Synopsis

Robin Robertson's fourth collection is, if anything, an even more intense, moving, bleakly lyrical, and at times shocking book than Swithering , winner of the Forward Prize. These poems are written with the authority of classical myth, yet sound utterly contemporary: the poet's gaze - whether on the natural world or the details of his own life - is unflinching and clear, its utter seriousness leavened by a wry, dry and disarming humour. Alongside fine translations from Neruda and Montale and dynamic (and at times horrific) retellings of stories from Ovid, the poems in The Wrecking Light pitch the power and wonder of nature against the frailty and failure of the human. Ghosts sift through these poems - certainties become volatile, the simplest situations thicken with strangeness and threat - all of them haunted by the pressure and presence of the primitive world against our own, and the kind of dream-like intensity of description that has become Robertson's trademark. This is a book of considerable grandeur and sweep which confirms Robertson as one of the most arresting and powerful poets at work today.

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780330515481
Publication date: 05/02/2010
Publisher: Picador an imprint of Pan Macmillan
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780330515481
Publication date: 5th February 2010
Author: Robin Robertson
Publisher: Picador an imprint of Pan Macmillan
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 112 pages
Genres: eBook Favourites, Poetry,
Categories: Poetry by individual poets,

About Robin Robertson

Robin Robertson is from the north-east coast of Scotland. His first collection won a number of prizes, including the 1997 Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the Saltire Scottish First Book of the Year Award. He recently received the 2004 E.M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and was selected by the Poetry Book Society as one of twenty Next Generation poets.

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