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Julian Turner

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Imprint: Anvil Press Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (64 pages)
(Pub. Mar 2011)
£8.95 £8.05
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  • Lao’s Mirror

    The night sky rippling with aurora light,
    the warm Earth making circles of the stars
    and a hard frost clouding the eye of ponds.

    Shaken from sleep beside the telephone
    I drove all night, arriving before dawn
    where willows had always waited by the beck.

    I wanted to arrive before he died
    and failed: long hours of alternating sodium
    and sheer green dark had seemed to stretch my mind

    so when I stop in that pause before morning
    I’m sick of pain, as if I’ve left behind
    my enemies who are not yet awake.

    I am nowhere and have no name. I sneak
    silently in and breathe quietly a moment
    before undressing in front of the mirror

    which speaks in gold devices and machines
    whose feather touch can profile molecules
    of soul amongst the early settlements.


    Lao’s Mirror was a mirror belonging to Mr Lao in Goldsmith’s The Citizen of the World. The mirror reflected the ‘insides’ or character of a person rather than the ‘outsides’. Understandably, it was not thought a good mirror.

    Much of the material in Julian Turner's third collection works under malign influence, which comes most often from the hand of Man, but is also haunted by elements, spirits and other forces that seem beyond our control. This compelling book also celebrates human ingenuity and heroism in the face of such weighty opponents and laments our inclination to blame others for our misfortune and unhappiness.

    Time and memory, the transitory nature of human remains from the earliest man-made monuments, how nature suffers from man-made depredations, the strange states of mind that arise from extreme experience – all of these contribute to this book's rich and multi-layered insight into the human condition.

    Julian Turner has published three previous collections of poetry: Crossing the Outskirts, a Poetry Book Society Recommendation which was shortlisted for the Forward Prize best first collection in 2002, Orphan Sites (2006) and Planet-Struck (2011). Born in Cheadle Hulme, near Manchester, in 1955, he was educated at New College, Oxford ... read more
    Awards won by Julian Turner Short-listed, 2002 Waterstone's Forward Poetry Prize for Best First Collection (Crossing the Outskirts) Commended, 2011 Poetry Book Society (PBS): Choice - Spring (Planet-Struck)
    'A blighted tree is said to be planet-struck. Similarly epilepsy, paralysis, lunacy and so on are attributed to the malignant influence of  planets'
    Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable
    Praise for Julian Turner 'Turner's poems evoke the fourfold, anagogic phases of being and consciousness familiar to readers of both the Romantic poet, and his interpreters'

    Fred Muratori, The Manhatten Review

    'You'll see a wish to connect, almost a belief, that despite this fractured world, things can still be whole... Where Blake saw poetry as the potential for a "perfect unity" it is perhaps a perfect disunity that Julian Turner yearns for here.'
    Liam Bishop, Singapore Review of Books
     "There is a vast unfathomable symmetry to Julian Turner's new collection, whose conclusion in deep space is as intrinsically unknowable as the remote landscape of the Cairngorms in which the opening poem, Lairig Grhu, is set."
    Steve Whitaker, The Yorkshire Times

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