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The Stones on Thorpeness Beach
O luminosity of chance!
Light spins among the spider-plants
As sand or amber glow seeps through
Tall windows of a studio,
While on the beach in random rows
The enigmatic stones compose
A silent staveless variation,
The music of regeneration.
In Neil Powell's fourth collection he celebrates his loved Suffolk landscapes and seascapes; he includes a major, heartfelt thank-you letter to Music; he revisits childhood places; and he provides a group of anecdotal `True Stories'. There are elegies for Roy Fuller and Adam Johnson. The concluding poems explore ecological themes, large changes which from our perspective are indistinguishable from decay.
The Stones on Thorpeness Beach builds on the achievement of his earlier Carcanet books, At the Edge (1977) and A Season of Calm Weather (1982), described by Andrew Motion as
`professional, serious, and distinguished'. Of True Colours (1991), John Greening wrote in Poetry Review:
`Powell catches the windy melancholy of East Anglia, its loneliness, its rigour. His music is always delicately judged . . .'
Awards won by Neil Powell Winner, 2017 East Anglian Writers Book by the Cover Award (Was and Is) Winner, 2017 East Anglian Book Awards (for Poetry)
(Was and Is)
Praise for Neil Powell 'Throughout there are poems to and for friends and yet, paradoxically, Powell has the air of an outsider, solitary and watchful.'
D A Prince, the North
''Neil Powell's Was and Is: Collected Poems gathers together a lifetime of walking, seeing, reading and rhyming the landscapes of eastern England, and in particular the coast of Suffolk. The author's world of friends and books has a wide historical horizon, haunted by literary ghosts from George Crabbe to W.G. Sebald. This is a rich book full of the light of the changing seasons, the rhythms of weather and sea, and the little details of human life that add colour to every corner of these skilful, evocative, and painterly poems.''
Dr Jeremy Noel-Tod (UEA), Poetry judge of the 2017 East Anglian Book Awards
'Like ordinary people, poets long to be loved. But all that is necessary is that they should be understood.'
Roy Fuller 'His poetry has a rewarding range and depth, though memory and our ambivalent handling of memory is what he is best at. He is an elegiac poet, and in some ways a more valuable poet of loneliness than Larkin. Any younger reader who hasn't yet cottoned on to Powell should find this carefully considered 'Collected' rewarding: his is a quiet insistent voice at the heart of the tradition.'
'Neil Powell's poems are lucid, elegant, formal and humane .'
'An exceptional poet of place, and of the East Anglian coast in particular: Neil Powell's Selected Poems thoroughly defines the peculiar atmospheres of that bleak landscape and seascape...'
The Carcanet Blog Joe Carrick-Varty: NPVIII: Meet the Contributor read more New Poetries VIII: Andrew Latimer on Benjamin Nehammer read more Charles Boyle: The Disguise read more Benjamin Nehammer: NPVIII: Meet the Contributor read more New Poetries VIII: Phoebe Power on Jason Allen-Paisant read more Moya Cannon: On Poetry read more
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