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Categories: 21st Century, British
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (144 pages)
(Pub. Jul 2016)
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Jul 2016)
(Pub. Jul 2016)
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In Quennets Philip Terry develops a sonnet-like form invented by the Oulipian poet Raymond Queneau. Across three sequences, the ‘quennet’ is reworked and refigured in response to three perimiter landscapes. The first sequence, ‘Elementary Estuaries’, is inspired by a series of walks along the Essex estuary, the poems’ appearance on the page suggesting the landscape’s expansive esturine vistas, its pink sail lofts and windswept gorse, beach huts and distant steeples. In the second sequence, written after a series of walks around the Berlin Wall Trail, or Mauerweg, the form changes to reflect the physical, almost bodily tension of the wall as an architectural and social obstruction. The final sequence, ‘Waterlog’, retraces the steps of W. G. Sebald through Suffolk, and here the quennet’s newely elongated shape and ragged margin evoke the region’s eroding coastline, its deserted piers and power stations, electric fences and waterlogged fields. Terry’s project is bold in scope, his poems subtle in effect, a mix of sign and song, concerete and lyric, Oulipo and psychogeography. It is a work about boundaries, political, social, and natural, and about the walk as a critical apparatus through which these fields are shown to connect.
'Sparse by design, this poetry is a strong reminder of the power of words when allied to our imagination, experience and emotions.'
Prize Judges, New Angle Prize for East Anglian Literature 'Though Terry's 'I' is all but absent, his eye is keen throughout, seizing on significant details of his wanderings around estuaries, around the old Berlin Wall, and finally along the digressive paths followed by W. G. Sebald through Suffolk in The Rings of Saturn. En route, Terry's precise [...] selection of language -- sampled from the vocabularies of biology, geography and history, among other disciplines -- offer hints and glimpses and conjectures about the ways in which these three modern landscapes have been shaped by their past and present inhabitants and vice versa. There is no overt editorialising, but rather a pervasive air of pensiveness that invites many re readings. These are poems of high ambition and integrity, and there is nothing else in the English language quite like them.'
Kevin Jackson 'These surprising and intriguing poems offer new ways of seeing overlooked places; of reading landscapes too often dismissed as illegible. Tonally adventurous, formally radical, sometimes witty, sometimes melancholically beautiful, they stand at a convergence of nature writing and experimental poetics.'
Praise for Philip Terry 'The English language is shape-shifting, and Philip Terry has turned onto its multiple modern metamorphoses to produce a witty, subtle and unprecedented fugue with variations. Shakespearean themes of love, regret, loss, and misanthropy gleam through a sumptuous ventriloquising of varied idiolects taken from the new media and the global infotainment traffic, seemingly infinite permutations of structure and syntax show a delighted agility and command of intervention. I am admiring, diverted, baffled, and moved by this original, contemporary re-engagement with the Sonnets'
Marina Warner '[Philip Terry's Inferno] follows Dante's narrative freely but carefully, moving constantly between colloquial and standard, rhythmically lively and effectively drawing the reader into the story.'
Peter Riley, The Fortnightly Review
'Philip Terry treats the tablets like elements of code to be cracked open for contemporary eyes and ears. [His] version is original and powerful; he does not try to mend the fragments into a legible whole, but remembers the poem's shattered state.'
Marina Warner 'It is brilliant... the pattern and rhythm very forceful and the lingo just stunning.'
Marina Warner 'The lineation speeds along at a nice articulated pace, the Dantesque pitch is right and propulsive, the cast of villains is energising, the balance between language and lingo, the allusive and the obscene just right... Berrigan the perfect shambling guide...'
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