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A Place in the World

Iain Bamforth

Cover Picture of A Place in the World
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Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 857547 60 3
Categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, British, Scottish
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: February 2005
216 x 135 x 9 mm
128 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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  • So he stood in his shoes
        And he wondered,
        He wondered,
    He stood in his
        Shoes and he wondered.
                                                                  John Keats

    Written under the sign of Eros, builder and destroyer of cities, and prefaced by an epigraph from Keats, the poems in A Place in the World are about home and antipodes, identity as a shibboleth and institutions as leviathans, Pacific islands and raised beaches, Edens and new Jerusalems, the critical spirit and the need for continuity. Cradling Scotland's stony myths in his palm, the poet sets off for Europe, an old civilisation that can barely reconcile itself to having become a colony of its own Utopia. In his pocket is a battered copy of the civil philosophy, also out of Scotland, that lends the book its punning title. Somewhere in the looming shadow of the cities is the poet, still looking--like the Greek philosopher--for human beings. A Place in the World, Iain Bamforth's fourth collection, is his most lyrical, challenging and considered work to date.
     
    Table of Contents

    Third-Person Lion 1

    A Charm for Europe 2

    Tobias Smollett in the Var 3

    Rough Sleeper 4

    Disgruntlements 5

    Voyage au Pays du Fer 6

    Strasburg Event 11

    Quatrain 11

    Calvin's Architect 12

    The Window 13

    Baudelaire: Albatross 14

    Questions for Chekhov 15

    Diogenes Looking for Humans 16

    A Vision 18

    Gauguin: Self-Portrait near Golgotha 19

    Glosses 20

    Tongues and Claws 23

    Eggs called Chaos 24

    The Stone Toad 27

    Coal Fish 29

    Gideon's Bible in a Late Night Motel 30

    Europa and the Whale 31

    The Wound Man 33

    The House-Boat 35

    In the Republic of Virtue 35

    Pig Melon Incarnation 36

    Cares of a Family Man 38

    Well and Hearth 38

    A Boy in Dresden 39

    From A to B and Back Again 40

    The Decision 41

    Clueless 42

    Arrow, Bowstring, Hand and Eye 43

    1909 Photograph of a Broken Hill Miner 44

    Chanson 45

    Proverbs and Maxims from the Hive 46

    Baudelaire: The Cracked Bell 48

    The Unreached 49

    Travels with a Donkey to the Bridge of Europe 51

    The Weight of a Day 52

    Hope, Art and Labour 53

    A Nest of Boxes for the Opening of the Scottish Parliament 56

    Ten Years: A Psalm 61

    A Promised Land 62

    Angelology 63

    Transparency: An Address 64

    A Sport of Small Accidents 65

    How Long is a Piece of String? 66

    Trümmerfrauen, 1945 66

    Hiding in the River to Escape the Rain 67

    The Very Sound of Where We Are 68

    A Distance from the Sea 69

    Thomas as Imagined by Caravaggio 70

    Joseph Beuys 71

    All the Old Dears 72

    By Further Knowing 73

    Movement 74

    Painting with Razors 75

    Two Poems on Classical Themes 76

    Frail Craft 77

    Strange Weather 78

    Bottler Names 79

    The Guest 80

    The Large Triumphal Chariot of Medicine 80

    Only This 81

    Family Virtues 82

    An Informant to Alexander Carmichael 82

    Baudelaire: Collecting my Thoughts 83

    Gutenberg Wings 84

    Alsace is an Island 85

    King and Queen of the Most Sunken City 86

    Heavenly City of the Twentieth Century 87

    Falling Off the Map 88

    Life of the Civil Servants 89

    Song: It Makes Me Wrong 90

    This 91

    A Sceptical Examination of the Body of French Medicine 92

    Salt of the Earth 93

    Two Steps in the Phenomenology of Walking 94

    Droit de cité 95

    Bucket 96

    Strasburgers on the Beach 97



    Notes 100

    Iain Bamforth grew up in Glasgow and graduated from its medical school. He has pursued a peripatetic career as a hospital doctor, general practitioner, translator, lecturer in comparative literature, and latterly public health consultant in several developing countries, principally in Asia. His four books of poetry were joined by a fifth, ... read more
    Praise for Iain Bamforth 'This collection is a joy to read, full of so much nuance, and persuasive language, a permanent wistfulness that never strays into the twee and the constant sense of travel, of movement and growth.'
    Matt Macdonald, Scottish Review of Books
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