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Selected Poems

Peter Sansom

Selected Poems by Peter Sansom
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Categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, British
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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(Pub. Sep 2010)
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(Pub. Sep 2010)
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  • The stationary train that pulls out of the station.
    A harbour and island getting underway
    across an estuary and out to open sea.
    A church moving, as you walk, on the horizon.
    The ceiling turning round a single, drunken
    lightbulb; or from a spin in an office chair
    watching the room like a rubber band unwind
    to bring the world back to where you were.

    from 'What the Eye Doesn't See'
    Peter Sansom’s Selected Poems brings together twenty years of quintessential Sansom, a poet who has made the local and familiar his own resonant territory. Supermarkets and darts matches, life with teenagers and family funerals, the common ground of modern life, make up the fabric of poems that capture the distinctiveness of the ordinary with a robust and sharp-eyed tenderness.

    Selected Poems includes revised versions of poems from Peter Sansom’s four Carcanet collections, with poems from his 2009 pamphlet The Night is Young.

    Cover painting: Mary Sansom (aged six)

    The Folklore of Plants     
    One Night    
    Funeral Morning    
    Living Room    
    5th September 1989, Small Hours    
    The fox in the writing class    
    Borrowdale Morning     


    At Blea Tarn    
    A Stone in a Drystone Wall    
    A Walk     
    What the Eye Doesn’t See    
    A Dream Mistaking a Person for What He Has Come
    to Represent     
    At the End of Here    

    Some night by chance    
    Clinical Depression    
    Death Cap    
    Summer Evening    
    Baker Street: Poet in Residence (Day 1)    
    To Autumn    
    Words for Paul Cézanne    
    Top Withens    
    You’ll Like This    
    About Time    
    My Mother on a Seat Outside a Hospital     


    Crich Stand    
    That was the day it snowed     
    Ted Savoury    
    Breakfast in the Dunblane Hilton    
    Anyone for Tennis?    
    Sheffield by Night    
    On Not Being George W. Bush    
    I’d heard about the man, who, drunk
    On the Road     
    Born-again bikers,    
    The Wife of Bath’s Tale    
    Bluebell Wood    
    The Day He Met His Wife    


    My Brother’s Vespa    
    Autumn Term     
    I used to faint    
    Petar K, 1957–2847    
    Croft Juniors    
    Instead of going to work     
    My Town    
    The Night is Young    

    Index of Titles and First Lines
    Peter Sansom was born in 1958 in Nottinghamshire. Carcanet published his first book in 1990. Among more recent titles are Selected Poems and Careful What You Wish For, which won him a Cholmondeley Award in 2016. He has also published Writing Poems (Bloodaxe, 1994, new edition 2024). For ten years ... read more
    Praise for Peter Sansom  'Long-suppressed anger morphs into characteristic deadpan humour, a difficult trick to accomplish without appearing trite - while he's no formalist, Sansom is as highly-skilled as any contemporary poet. Peter Sansom's poetry... is full of gentle, bittersweet and funny moments, the work of a poet and person whose outlook on life is immensely engaging, engaged and likeable.'

    Matthew Paul, The Friday Poem

    'A serious intelligence only lightly disguised as self-mockery and expressed via devastatingly clear-sighted observation.'
    Yorkshire Post
    'His writing gains its vitality from the tension between the desire to remember and the necessity of moving on.'
    Poetry Review
    'A congenial writer, whose usually informal metrical sense is, nevertheless, decisive and intuitively informed.'
    Times Literary Supplement
    'Personal, political, powerful'
    Morning Star 
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