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The Vineyard Above the Sea
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (64 pages)
(Pub. Nov 1999)
The pause at the turn, however infinitesimal,
Is there to ensure we do not run ahead
Of the heartbeat, the knowledge in the blood
That will not be hurried beyond a present good
Before it has fed on it.
The title poem of Charles Tomlinson's new volume describes the vineyards of an area of Italy which has been the subject of many poems since his earliest work. In the Cinque Terre vines are cultivated along the cliffs, within precarious sight of the sea beneath, their wine tasting sharply of its surroundings. In this way they have something in common with poetry itself. These are the poems of a traveller and explore the personal through the sense of place - Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal and the West of England.
'I like something lucid,' writes Tomlinson, 'surrounded by somethingmysterious.' The book includes his moving elegy to another traveller, Bruce Chatwin. Tomlinson's geography is as large as Lawrence's, but his passionate restraint reminds us of Edward Thomas. In his translations he responds to those elements which reveal the distinctive, hardly transferable qualities of vision as it takes shape in languages very different from his own - Russian, French, Spanish.
Awards won by Charles Tomlinson Winner, 2003 New Criterion Poetry Prize (Skywriting)
Praise for Charles Tomlinson 'Charles Tomlinson has been probably the foremost poet of truly international distinction writing in England between the 1950s and the opening years of the Twenty-first Century.'
Ian Brinton, Tears in the Fence
'It is entirely appropriate that David Morley should have chosen the title Swimming Chenango Lake for this book and the poem of that name, written in September 1967, stands as 'Prologue' to a volume which will at last place Charles Tomlinson's name at the forefront of the poetry of the twentieth century.'
Ian Brinton, The London Magazine
'Tomlinson was a wide-ranging poet. His technical scope includes free form and more traditional structures, and he is a master of both. They cohabit enrichingly in Swimming Chenango Lake... a finely chosen collection for existing enthusiasts and an excellent introduction for newcomers.'
Carol Rumens, The Guardian
'His poetry stuns us by its formal rigour, its punctiliousness, its syntactical mastery, its long, building effects. Unmissable.'
Michael Glover, The Tablet
'Tomlinson is one of the most astute, disciplined, and lucent poets of his generation. His quiet, meditative voice will reverberate on both sides of the Atlantic for a long time to come.'
Edward Hirsch 'Tomlinson's work and his new volume achieve balance, synthesis and wonderful expression. Add to this that he is also very funny, and I trust you have abandoned any reason not to buy the book. Let's be proud of him.'
David Morley, the Guardian 'Tomlinson has an international reputation as a poet and translator. He is also a painter and brings his artist's eye to his poetry, drawing out exact lines, creating luminous imagery that is still touched by a sense of mystery. Please read him...his collection Seeing is Believing is one of my all-time favourites.'
Sion Hamilton, The Bookseller pick of 2006. 'He has divided his line according to a new measure learned, perhaps, for a new world. It gives a refreshing rustle or seething to the words which bespeak the entrance of a new life'.
William Carlos Williams 'Against the word as spectacle, Tomlinson opposes the concept -- a very English one -- of the world as event...He is fascinated -- with his eyes open: a lucid fascination -- by the universal busyness, the continuous generation and degeneration of things'.
Octavio Paz 'Tomlinson insists, and he has a right to insist, that he is as authentic a voice of modern Britain as Larkin is. Only in the great poets is content so intimately married to form'.
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