Zaffar Kunial is a proven master of taking things apart, polishing the fugitive parts of single words, of a sound, a colour, the name of a flower, and putting them back together so that we see them in an entirely different light. In the poems of England’s Greenwe are invited to look at the place and the language we think we know and made to think again. With everything so newly set, we are alert, as the poet is, to the ‘dark missing/step in a stair’, entering this new world with bated breath. By such close attention to the parts, the poems have a genius for invoking absence, whether that be a missing father, the death of a mother or a path not taken. Fully formed, they share a centre of gravity: migrations, memories, little transgressions and disturbances, summoned and contained in small gestures – a hand held, the smell of a newly bred rose or the scratch a limpet makes to mark its home.
‘Zaffar Kunial is a poet whose work thrills me, who makes you return to the origins of things, places, language and people again and again. He’s a poet who takes traditions seriously but makes of them something entirely new – a must.’ Jackie Kay