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Local Habitation

A Sequence of Poems

Peter Dale

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Imprint: Anvil Press Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (96 pages)
(Pub. Jun 2009)
£8.95 £8.05
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    Dan    Gill

                ‘You’re like a fly circling the centre light,
                ceaselessly. Stop it.’
    ‘I’ll make a deal with you:
    get out of my mind, get out of my sight
    and Monday fortnight, say, haunt me in lieu:
    yowl and wail or try your banshee screech.
    You traverse skulls without a bit of plaster
    so waltz through walls with your infrangible breach.
    Articulate the coming of disaster.

    ‘You’ll not craze me with any see-through stuff.
    I’ll lay you before the crowing of the cock –
    revenant, spectre, wraith, in chains or buff.
    Wall-perviants can’t purport much interference.’
                ‘If walls could rearrange my due appearance,
                I might come then – with something of a shock.’

    This sequence of poems in three voices introduces a ghostly eternal triangle whose lines are ruled feint or bold in response to situation, time and change. A man and two women explore their memories in conversational poems which, in their combination of lyric and narrative, form a novel contribution to poetry. The story is of an abruptly ended first love affair, an encounter and marriage with another, the joy of birth, the mourning for the infant’s death and its aftermath. The voices of the protagonists, rooted in their local habitations, weave in and out of the speech and consciousness of each of them with all the nuances, pleasures and regrets of hindsight and its shifts in recollection.

    Peter Dale was born in Addleston, Surrey in 1938 and educated at St Peter’s College, Oxford. He worked as a secondary school teacher before becoming a freelance writer in 1993. He was co-editor of the poetry journal Agenda for many years. He is renowned for his translations from French (Corbière, Laforgue, ... read more
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