Rough Music

by Fiona Sampson


LoveReading View on Rough Music


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


The Poetry Book Society view...

Former concert violinist Fiona Sampson’s delicate and delightful new lyrics score the liminal line where language and music dance, these ‘Songs without Tunes’ resounding with rhythm and cadence pitched to perfection, the deft counterpoint of major and minor ringing through your thoughts long after the last page has turned. A medley of folksong and ballad, carol and charm, ‘From the Adulteress’s Songbook’ to the ‘Schubertiad’, these poems revel in rendering movement, both physical and musical, tracing the “hushhush” swoop of a skater, sounding the “staggered chord” of betrayal, and offering a ‘First Theory of Movement’ as a shimmering play of light across all that is numinous. It is ultimately the words that truly sing, the themes both intimate and infinite, the imagery rich and resonant with a grace that lingers long in the mind.

Rough Music Synopsis

'Rough music' is the old English name for a custom of public scapegoating. This is a book full of disturbing musical echoes, in which brilliant renewals of carol, charm, folksong and ballad explore themes of violence, loss and belonging. Fiona Sampson's characteristic lyric intensity deftly fuses metaphysics and politics with the vernacular of daily life.

Rough Music Press Reviews

From reviews of Common Prayer:


'Urgent, acrobatically alert poems alternate with the comparative stillness of a series of love sonnets. Here, too, the imagination is always at work, demonstrating that curiosity is a form of passion.' - Sean O'Brien, The Sunday Times


'That she is also a very fine poet indeed seems almost impertinent of her, but that is what she is - Sampson's free verse soon surprises by its seductive ease and its vivid rendition of he ordinary, material world. This perfect equilibrium between the numinous and the touchable is typical of Sampson's achievement.' - Adam Thorpe, the Guardian


'Fiona Sampson burst onto the literary landscape as the brilliant young editor of Poetry Review a couple of years ago. In Common Prayer, her subject is darkness of many kinds, erotic or lonely, histories of Eastern Europe, abandonment. She finds a subtle suggestion of sexual gesture in unexpected places.' - Elaine Feinstein, The Times

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781847770455
Publication date: 28/05/2010
Publisher: Carcanet Press Ltd
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781847770455
Publication date: 28th May 2010
Author: Fiona Sampson
Publisher: Carcanet Press Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 64 pages
Genres: Poetry,
Categories: Poetry by individual poets,

About Fiona Sampson

Fiona Sampson has been published in more than thirty-five languages. She has sixteen books in translation, and has received the Zlaten Prsten (Macedonia), the Charles Angoff Award (US), the 2016: Slovo Podgrmec Prize and the Povelji za međunarodnu saradnju Award (Bosnia) and the Aark Arts International Poetry Prize (India) and been shortlisted for the Evelyn Encelot Prize for European Women Poets. From 2005-2012 she was the Editor of Poetry Review; she is now Professor of Poetry at the University of Roehampton, where she is the Director of the Roehampton Poetry Centre and Editor of Poem. A Fellow and ...

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