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ISBN: 978 1 857544 48 0
Categories: 20th Century
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: January 2000
216 x 135 x 6 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
So Jack's your man, Jack is your man in things.
And he must come along, and he must stay
close, be quick and right, your little cousin
Jack, a step ahead, deep in the hedge, on
edge, a kiss a rim, at pinch, in place, turn
face and tip a brim, each inch of him, the
folded leaf, the important straw. What for.
He's slippery and hot ...
from 'Man Jack'
"Langley is one of poetry's best kept secrets. This wonderfully inventive collection, bursting with linguistic exuberance, should bring him to the attention of the wider audience that he deserves."
-The Judges of the Whitbread Poetry Award
Collected Poems is a slim-seeming volume, containing material from Roger Langley's two pamphlet collections, Man Jack and Twelve Poems, as well as new and unpublished material. Langley's work is copious in what it provides us poem by poem: the pleasures of form, syntax and rhythm are such that, as in the poetry of Wallace Stevens, in the enchantment we are hardly aware of the serious demands that are being made; in reading him we learn to see and feel language differently. It is no surprise to learn that he is interested in natural history, in particular arachnology.
Large webs, long poems - 'Juan Fernandez' and 'Matthew Glover', for example, celebrated among the dedicated 'alternative' readership Langley's work has long enjoyed - are interleaved with shorter pieces, and all are carried by the seriously playful, at times terse but never severe or self-regarding, verse of an accomplished and assured poet. His abstemiousness is part of a complex and beguiling integrity.
'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
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