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The Face of It
ISBN: 978 1 857549 00 3
Categories: 21st Century
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: April 2007
216 x 135 x 5 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (EPUB), eBook (Kindle)
The gate is indigo, but when they give
directions people call it blue. To lose
the way is to remember something of
the stump. But can anyone be ready
for the moment when the dusk ignites the poppy?
Roger Langley's poems explore perception. They take their bearings from forms as diverse as Renaissance hermeticism, a Greek vase, Rauschenberg's painting, Bottom's dream, a green beetle. Here the world may chime, like a building by Palladio, or disappear on a parting wave as in a film by Bergman. Surprise and truth come together. Things are both ordinary and vivid, distinct and universal. Langley's poems take delight in the sound and sense of language: for him, etymology can be revelation. In the interplay of word and object, each poem attempts an epiphany.
Awards won by R.F. Langley Short-listed, 2000 Whitbread Prize (Complete Poems )
Praise for R.F. Langley 'The quality of Langley's writing is extraordinary. On first reading I found myself bolt upright, the book falling from my hands as his poetry tore through me.'
Randolph Healey 'I recommend you read R.F. Langley's magnificent poems, and his prose journals too, sparingly and for the rest of your life, as you might read a book of meditations'
'Ghostly Mentor', Claire Crowther. 'R.F. Langley's Complete Poems (Carcanet), edited by Jeremy Noel-Tod, preserves the work of a comparatively neglected figure, who died in 2011 and whose reputation is bound to rise. It's not a log book, but every single poem is exceptionally watchful and scrupulous. A life's work, to last its readers a lifetime'
The Guardian, 28.11.2015. '[R.F. Langley} was attentive to the natural world and to the textures of the English language, and his Complete Poems is a gem of a book'
Paul Batchelor, Times Literary Supplement, 27.11.2015. Langley's meditations on the natural world make English strange with Shakespearean animation, jumping from rhyme to rhyme and thought to thought. As TS Eliot also said, 'there is a logic of the imagination as well as a logic of concepts' and it can follow patterns as involved as 50 swifts on a summer evening.'
Jeremy Noel-Tod, the Daily Telegraph, 24 January 2009
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