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ISBN: 978 1 847770 73 8
Categories: 21st Century, Scottish
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: January 2011
216 x 135 x 13 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (EPUB), eBook (Kindle)
The river civilisations began to write 5,000 years ago
to list the contents of their warehouses.
Poetry was written later, every
line an item. Now the tongues of power
themselves are fixed in ASCII inventories.
They cannot move.
Stuck there like roads.
Will the forklift trucks in the digital warehouses
from ‘The Devil in the Driving Mirror’
Peter McCarey's first full collection, comprising work from his five pamphlets, is an exhilarating journey on the U-bahns and runways of language: ‘In a matter of hours / they can take you anywhere’. Collected Contraptions opens with water, rain and shadows; the inscription of ‘the singer's mark’ from the lost language of the Indus Valley civilisation shines from a Shakespeare sonnet; we are caught in a sci-fi spaghetti Western; a shady Czech smuggles a golem and a robot into pre-massacre Rwanda. Language shape-shifts, reinvents itself, before going on another road trip where stories are recited backwards and fast forward. Last is ‘Tantris’, an epic of intricate narrative whose message couldn't be more simple: ‘Don't go: don't let the morning/ Turn your head with her shivering, thin grace.’
Cover photograph copyright © Peter McCarey
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