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The Glacial Stairway

Peter Riley

Glacial Stairway
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Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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Paperback (80 pages)
(Pub. Jul 2011)
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  • Description
  • Excerpt
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  • The long high song echoing
    over the trees down the slope
    the leaves flicker a world picture

    A tempered wish, a tied purpose
    slices the air, our failing
    falling ecstasy, our trade.

    from ‘Shining Cliff’
    The Glacial Stairway takes the reader on journeys in verse and prose, over a mountain pass in the Pyrenees, from King's Cross to the School of Oriental and African Studies; to the seasons of eighth-century China by way of a series of twentieth-century readings; through a wood in Derbyshire and on a road trip across the American West, 'charmed zone of bears and ghosts'.

    In poems and sequences written between 2003 and 2010 Peter Riley explores his terrain in extended meditations and monologues, collages of fragmented noticings and sudden bursts of song. Layering and counterpoint: the past surfaces; voices reverberae, picking up the themes. The mental traveller encounters pressures of history, culture and language, across time and place.

    His poetry is urgently challenging and immensely valuable - David Kennedy, PN Review
    PETER RILEY was born in 1940 near Manchester. He studied at Pembroke College, Cambridge, and the universities of Keele and Sussex. He has taught at the University of Odense (Denmark) and since 1975 has lived as a freelance writer and poetry bookseller, from which he retired in 2008. He lived in ... read more
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