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The Hundred Thousand Places
ISBN: 978 1 847770 05 9
Categories: 21st Century, Scottish
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: November 2009
216 x 135 x 10 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (EPUB), eBook (Kindle)
as you look out
over the hill shapes
you feel your way
over the hill shapes
your eyes walk
over the slopes
To walk through a landscape is to be part of a slow unfolding of time and distance, to commit yourself to an adventure. The Hundred Thousand Places is a single poem that travels across seasons, through a variety of Scottish highland and island landscapes, from dawn to dusk. Make an early start, 'feel your way out / into what might…take form'. It is a long walk, along the coast, over mountain and moorland, through pine and birch forest, ending on a shore where the sea offers 'another knowledge / wild and cold'.
Attentive and responsive, the unhurried pace of Thomas A. Clark's writing draws the reader into a shared journey, pausing on the possibilities of a phrase, the music of the names of trees and flowers, or turning the page to open new horizons.
Cover painting: One Thousand Blue Places (detail) by Laurie Clark, reproduced by kind permission of the artist. Cover design by StephenRaw.com.
Awards won by Thomas A. Clark Short-listed, 2017 Saltire Society Poetry Book of the Year Award (Farm by the Shore )
'The Hundred Thousand Places stands at a tentative and oblique angle to the more established modes of pastoral writing. There is a beautiful moment in George Oppen's 'Psalm' when he exclaims of some deer, 'That they are there!', and the fact of the natural world's being there at all supersedes the need for description. There is plenty of description in these poems, but they too converge on a place of revelation whose name is simply 'there'.'
The Guardian 'Space, pace and wild beauty are on the reader's mind throughout this tantalising collection.'
Scottish Review of Books 'Thomas A Clark has produced a book-length poem of genuine visionary intentâ¦ The Hundred Thousand Places realigns our understanding of the lyric voice and of its investment in the natural world.'
Poetry London Praise for Thomas A. Clark 'In short, one-breath clusters of lines, Clark meditates on the details one might observe during a contemplative and solitary walk through remote countryside. His diction is perfectly pitched and his grammar exact...this is about a man's spiritual need for the humblest manifestations of nature.'
Philip Rush, the North
'Meaning is discovered between spaces, silences heard between sound...a vitally alert poet.'
'A remarkable portrayal of our contemplative relationship with nature.'
Church Times Best Books of 2017
'With radical simplicity, Thomas A Clark's writing gives us the unfussy beauty of the natural world. There's not much that I ask of poetry that isn't present here.'
'These are love poems to the geography of Scotland and in their own inimitable way bring a clarity and vision to the 'scree slope' that 'tumbles/ into the green lochan.'.'
Casey Charles, Dundee University Review of the Arts
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