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Categories: 21st Century, British, Humour
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (96 pages)
(Due Sep 2022)
The chemist with a sample analyses an aliquot of that sample, a part of a part of a larger whole. The title of John Clegg’s new collection speaks to the poems’ sense of being parts of larger wholes, themselves parts of a larger whole...
The scientific knowledge and the sometimes old-fashioned diction that abound in these poems are both part of worlds of reference in which sequencing (narrative, historical, scientific) is crucial and revelatory, as in the series of poems ‘A Gene Sequence’ which take us from Codon to Coda via a number of -ines (Glycine, Asparagine, Tyrosine etc). The complex exercise grows out of George Herbert (‘What though my body run to dust?’) and administrative duties at a genomics conference in which the language spoken, the terms used, find their way into the organising imagination and prosody of a formidable, witty verse craftsman, with serious contemporary concerns.
Aliquot, John Clegg’s second Carcanet book, is storm-spooked and jumpy: haunted by jaguars and lynxes, its uneasy silences broken by the retort of punt guns, lightning strikes, and floodwater breaching defences. Among these stretches of foreboding are moments of calm, especially arising out of the joy and rowdy peace of parenthood. These poems are themselves aliquots, of a realised, restive and unique individual world.
Awards won by John Clegg Short-listed, 2017 Ledbury Forte Poetry Prize
Praise for John Clegg 'Shaking off the dust of Cambridge, John Clegg spoors Bloomsbury, and then - Holy Toledo! - enters some western from another planet. Whatever horse he rides he makes it go, a lasso his modus operandi for capturing images.'
Marius Kociejowski 'No poet writing today matches John Clegg for wit and rigour. Holy Toledo! opens up a brilliant, uncanny frontier between the American West and the England of Empson, Davie and Woolf. Questioning language, rejoicing in it, Clegg's poetry plunges headfirst into the Great Tradition and comes out swinging.'
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