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Categories: 21st Century
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (96 pages)
(Pub. Mar 2008)
The little room, dismantled, returned
to cobwebs that, to be frank, haven't moved
in fourteen years, gothic drapes by now.
A sign of my passage -
from 'Dismantlings 2'
Yellow Studio, Stephen Romer's fourth collection of poems, returns to the erotic intensities of Tribute (1998), counterpointed by the rueful satire that comes with age and a disbelief at having reached 'mid-life'. In this many-angled book the poet continues to meditate on home and exile, and on home-in-exile - the trauma of removal and the unsought joys of re-settlement. At its heart is the yellow studio, the perennial, private place of art and its creation, linked here to childhood memory. The book's final section is made up of poems to the poet's father, a sequence whose austerity and restraint are the means towards the encounter.
Cover painting The Yellow Studio by Caroline Romer (detail). Cover design by www.StephenRaw.com.
'Stephen Romer has achieved a breakthrough in these new poems. The death of his father has torn away a veil, releasing a fresh energy and vision.'
Hugo Williams 'If Tribute is haunted by aphasia, exile and the loss of continuity, those fears are shadows that give body to the essences more insistently dwelt upon, and these are apprehended with a depth of spiritual resource that is almost mystical.'
Clive Wilmer on Tribute, in Times Literary Supplement 'Austerely eloquent treatments of lost love and the complexities of family are juxtaposed with reflections on art and poetry - exactly the civilised range of interests that might strike fear into the incurious. Readers open to Romer's scrupulous, passionate music and the conversational intimacy of his address will gather rich rewards, however.'
Sean O'Brien, Culture, 11 January 2009 Praise for Stephen Romer 'Stasis is the great enemy of a mind as active as Romer's and his poems are often a means of avoiding it, except when by some conjuring trick they attempt to arrest time... This is a book of elegant benedictions that allow for ecstasy and its opposite, and are fitting, memorable companions for either.'
Declan Ryan, TLS
'Reading Romer's poetry will leave you with a sense of calm and clarity because this long serving poet has developed a technical control that allows even for mysticism without rattling the bodily cage too much'
Claire Crowther, Magma
'A characteristic blend of self-examination and what feels like a classically trained sense of beauty, clarity and proportion. There is something Bergman-esque about Romer's work.'
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