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ISBN: 978 1 857540 73 4
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: October 1994
214 x 135 x 9 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
It was only Icarus he'd come upon, wings unmelted,
still on sea-holly leaves, yet, opening, they
seemed to him at last no small invention, those smalted
fliers pausing there, common as sky.
from 'Pieces of Fire and Heaven'
Flying through the first half of this new, two-in-one collection of poems by Rodney Pybus are the butterflies and birds which took over his creative life for several years. These are 'the creatures with wings that make us cry' -- for their vulnerable beauty, the agile persistence of their will to survive. Here they are celebrated for themselves and for their ability to emblematise human desire, loss, obsession and sensuous delight. They range from Norfolk and 18th-century London to Scotland, Bohemia and Australia. The Blues themselves often turn out to be both the family of small butterflies and a variety of that familiar human response to 'the tears of things'.
'Words of a Feather', part two of the book, is a creature of a new and different kind: a poem for voices, an epistolary novella that tells the story of a 1930s marriage disrupted by the husband's absence in Mauritius where his life is overwhelmed by new experiences of art, nature and erotic love. Verse letters, the husband's poems, and the intervening reflections of a present-day narrator tell the tale. This inventive tour de force explores moral and artistic themes, a rich development of the technique Pybus deployed in The Loveless Letters.
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