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The Sleepwalker at Sea
ISBN: 978 1 906188 00 9
Categories: 21st Century, American
Published: May 2011
216 x 135 x 8 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (EPUB), eBook (Kindle)
The map I’m after is scarred – creased
where half the land’s been folded back,
forgotten, and half has wiped the palms,
the frozen eyes of Napoleon or Petraeus.
Why, you ask, do I seek such a thing –
elbow-deep in the neighbour’s rubbish?
Why else: we’re lost, of course.
The poems in The Sleepwalker at Sea tread a fluid line between dream and wakefulness, memory and loss, presence and longing. Leave a house and it suddenly fills with ‘the unseen’; consult ‘The Book of Clues’ and discover only ‘ghostly hints’ of a self you’ve left behind. Linked by their restless displacement, pacing haunted spaces, these are poems that question what it means to be in the world and seek answers in lost rooms, missing sketches, disappearing fragments.
By turns meditative and playful, romantic and philosophical, The Sleepwalker at Sea strides an invisible path through streets of strangers, in search of ruined altars, buried candles, and ‘the whispering galleries of the dead’. Here, deer ‘dissolve / into a tapestry of mist’, a butterfly ‘measures / the universe’s weight’, and the soul ‘sculpts itself in frostlit air’.
Cover painting Jindřich Ulrich, The Sleepwalker, 2010. Oil on wood. Private collection. © Jindřich Ulrich, reproduced by kind permission of the artist. Cover painting:
The Other City
To Carry the One
The Book of Clues
Wan Hu’s Flying Chair
‘It’s turtles all the way down’
A Butterfly in the British Museum
The Vanishing Hand
Bird in the Air Pump
Giacometti’s Walking Man
The Ruined Statue of a Saint
Tom Paine’s Bones
A Tortoise in the Chelsea Physic Garden
The Lost Room
The Glass Armonica
The Carnival Tent
The Sleepwalker at Sea
A Little Night Music
Reading in Bed
Praise for Kelly Grovier 'The 'poetry is precise and well crafted' with 'delicate touches and nuances' that 'reveal a delight in the poetic treatment of sensory expression and cast Grovier as a poet acutely attuned to the intricacies and balances of light'.'
The New Welsh Review 'Wonderful precision, technical ambition, and the ability to surprise the reader'
Poetry London 'This is a poet of both truth and beauty'
Times Literary Supplement '...Grovier's poetry at its best is formidable: the marriage of music and mind.'
Alison Brackenbury, Poetry Wales
'Grovier's poems are often amusing and childlike... The narrators may fret, but Grovier's craft stills poem and reader inside a "slip-knot of stars"'.
New Welsh Review
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