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Here on Earth

Jeffrey Wainwright

Categories: 21st Century, British
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (96 pages)
(Due Nov 2022)
£11.99 £10.79
  • Description
  • Author
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • We are still here on earth, and with a troubled sense of wonder Jeffrey Wainwright's new collection acknowledges life's sufficiency. The poems evoke Ruskin as writer and artist, his insistence on precision, the thing seen in fullness rather than the seer, the object rather than the subject in the foreground. Ruskin: 'the best drawing-masters are the woods and hills'.

    The poet addresses old friends, with whom he's grown up and then old. He engages them in meditations which include their past, the worlds in which they were taking shape – a shape that is now them, old men rich in language and in heart. They have not lost direction but fare forward, eyes focused on what’s there.

    These are not 'the other poem' which goes too far. 'The sea is close by/as it says in the other poem–/but here it is really true.' The poet in small things, in the indefinite article, finds a pattern; he still looks for the plan, if there is one, which he cannot quite give up believing in. Here on Earth ends with a poem on his father's experience of growing old, and a 'Seascape from Holly's Photograph': Holly, his daughter, in Australia, another world to which he has entry, but only as a visitor. Time foreshortens prospects, but while there's breath, eyesight, language and imagination, there is also conscience, fear, thought, and – still – desire. We are at a beginning.
    Jeffrey Wainwright was born in Stoke-on-Trent in 1944 and was educated locally and at the University of Leeds. He has taught at the University of Wales, Long Island University in Brooklyn and for many years at the Manchester Metropolitan University where he was Professor in the Department of English and its ... read more
    Awards won by Jeffrey Wainwright Short-listed, 2017 Arnold Bennett Book Prize (What Must Happen )
    Praise for Jeffrey Wainwright   'In Wainwright's philosophising lies a questioning, experimental and playful essence hidden in household objects, imaginary ships and childhood homes [...] As Best We Can contains delicate balances'

    Ben Ray, Oxford Review of Books

    'As Best We Can is a defining poetic moment of 2020.'

    Steve Whittaker, Yorkshire Times

     'There are some lovely individual poems here, like 'Spring Walk', 'Seascape' and 'The Window-Ledge'. But best are the poems of loss and change, about growing up in the Potteries after the War'
    Andy Croft, The Morning Star
    'Many of these quiet poems have a disproportionately unsettling effect... This is work that comes from slow attention, proper effort and commitment to understanding.'
    Steve Hanson, Manchester Review of Books
     'What Must Happen is at once a lyrical meditation on the nature of history and on ourselves as perceiving subjects in a world of objects and other species. It ranges confidently across different geographies and societies  from working lives in Josiah Wedgewood's Etruria in the Potteries to the example of the Eternals: Jupiter, Venus, and Apollo. Combining sinuous intelligence with humanity and compassion, Jeffrey Wainwright's latest collection puts him at the forefront of contemporary English poets.'
    John Whale
    'Jeffrey Wainwright's work is among the most interesting of any poet now writing'
    The Guardian
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