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Arctic Elegies

Peter Davidson

Cover of Arctic Elegies by Peter Davidson
10% off all versions
Categories: 21st Century, British, Scottish, Second Collections
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (72 pages)
(Pub. Nov 2022)
9781800172630
£11.99 £10.79
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Nov 2022)
9781800172647
£9.59 £8.63
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  • Description
  • Author
  • Reviews
  • This is a mighty book of Norths: northern geographies, histories, lights; a place of definition, frost and cold. There is an unfaltering Recusant spirit about these poems, a survival through defeat and a sense of underlying permanences.

    Each poem has an occasion: some of the occasions are personal meetings, conversations, which unlock shared scenes and themes; some are historical in origin, their past often one of early Christian faith or religious conflict. The poems abound in art, in specific lived detail, particulars of landscape, and in a harsh weather which is not unlike time itself in its effect on the living and ageing imagination. Each poem requires a different metre, a different pace; each form is carefully attuned to its occasion.
    Peter Davidson was born in Scotland in 1957. He is currently Senior Research Fellow at Campion Hall, University of Oxford. Peter has edited the Clarendon Poems and Translations of Sir Richard Fanshawe (Vol I, 1998; II, 1999); the Clarendon anthology of seventeenth-century English poetry, Poetry and Revolution (1998), and (with Jane ... read more
     'This impressive and unusual collection sets the tone straight away: "The falcon flown, far in the starving air / So many lost, this long, half-secret war." Davidson's verse is meticulous, metrical, alliterative; driven as much by musical half-rhyme as full rhymes; historically specific; highly emotional but broadly impersonal (these are the opposite of anecdotal poems); and intensely romantic.'
    Victoria Moul, The Friday Poem
    'He shows us in Arctic Elegies a land and state of mind both lyrically described and thrillingly delighted in - a land and state of mind both eminently deserving of celebration, and capable of shining suddenly with beauty and transformative warmth.'
    Derek Turner, Brazen Head
      '...these poems adopt and create song forms, giving an eerie and unsettling tone that combines the archaic and the modern in striking ways... Davidson's skill with rhyme and an almost-liturgical syntax give a tense and moving atmosphere.'

    Sean Hewitt, The Irish Times
    'Davidson's work is as ravishing as it is mysterious, and although they are elegies these poems are deeply joyful occasions.'
    David Wheatley, The Guardian
    'This is a "concept album" of a collection, in that all the poems sing to each other. It has a pleasingly archaic feel... There is a long-suffering melancholy and a sense that even the frost might melt.'
    Stuart Kelly, The Scotsman
    Praise for Peter Davidson 'Peter Davidson's profoundly civilised and lyrical book is [...] shot through with exquisite poignancies. These have as much to do with the nature of the place - the nature of extreme northerliness - as with the author's finely trained eye. [...] he knows how to see into things, and not only the simply visible, but also the rituals, the inner structures, and music - Lieder and ballad at the piano - of a sequestered, professorial life in rural Aberdeenshire. [...] The stuff and pace of poetry underwrites Prof Davidson's nights and days. He has written a most remarkable book in the same class of accomplishment as the work of Robert Macfarlane, who introduces it.'
    Andrew McNeillie, Country Life
    'This is a poet's book, his mind wide open to the cultures of the world, especially of the north, specifically Aberdeenshire. The language is luscious, musical and precise, rich with quotation and the cultures of, especially, northern Europe, from minerology and industry to poetry, painting, music [...] The book glows with moments of light, on a city, a river, in a room.'
    Gillian Clarke, National Poet of Wales
     'Peter Davidson has written a remarkable and unusual book - I have started the book but want to make it last the summer. It is a sustained prose poem, very moving in its effect... I am savouring it, reading it slowly, hoping to prolong the pleasure of these exquisite essays through the summer. It is, I think, one of the most beautiful books to be written in Scotland for many decades.'
    Alexander McCall Smith
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