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Categories: 21st Century, British
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (72 pages)
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Julian Turner’s Desolate Market takes as its tuning fork a line from William Blake’s Vela, or the 4 Zoas: ‘Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy.’ Fascinated by the interaction of material and mystical forces, Turner sets up a series of test cases in which the power of the human imagination, and its susceptibility to quasi-mystical influence, are explored. Poems on influencing machines (mind-controlling contraptions housed in the brain, as described by some people experiencing psychosis) double as a critique of the totalitarian dreams of despots. The corrosive influence of the market economy (that other quasi-mystical force), with its power to bring about poverty, redundancy, terrorism, and alienation, is the subject of a later section of poems. The collection ends with the poet’s alternative vision of the birth of the cosmos, a ‘disinterested machine / spinning its great designs of flesh and soul.’
Turner’s ‘affecting, memorable and original’ poems (TLS) were shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection with Crossing the Outskirts, and his Planet-Struck was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. Desolate Market is his most ambitious and urgent work to date.
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)
'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
Praise for Julian Turner '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
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