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My Country: Collected Poems
RRP: GBP 18.95
You Save: GBP 1.89
Price: GBP 17.05
Out of Print
ISBN: 978 0 856358 46 3
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: November 1989
223 x 142 x 13 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Taking all armour off
taking off all protection
you come to me, carrying
like something delicate in a paper bag
yourself in your skin.
Air moves out of the way:
a bow wave must be coming
but I feel nothing,
until the warmth, the comfortable circles
of marriage, lie down
beside my open palm.
Strange permission, of nakedness togther:
like being alone, not modest, uneventful
among the laws that cannot be repealed.
Lights off (our light); and reconvene
the interrupted lifetime of our bodies.
from House-Rules II: Lights
The first poem in My Country is 'America: a Love Poem'. Alistair Elliot is a frontiersman in a world where frontiers have to be recreated, or are discovered where least expected. He is an erudite writer, with the wry wit of the man of the world rather than the university wit more common nowadays. He is a writer with whom Hardy or Clough would have felt at home. My Country includes new poems, together with work from Alistair Elliot's five earlier collections.
In seeing new world close up, hearing present voices, present laughter, he catches the tones and colours of their past as well. He travels by choice on foot (walking the whole length of the Appian Way from Rome to Brindisi, along the route Horace took in 37 B.C., in one of his most celebrated sequences). He's not a tourist so much as an explorer, travelling light. His poems are discoveries, through travel, comedy and love. As a poet of erotic adventures and moments, he is unusual among contemporary British writers.
Peter Porter recommends Alistair Elliott's poems as essential reading for 'everyone who cares about British poetry'.
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