In Peter Bennet’s poetry nothing is what it seems to be. Modern spaces are haunted by the past and the unreal. We cannot tell the encroacher from the encroached. Discontinuities in time and space and playful short-circuitings produce exhilarating shivers. Bennet is an astute observer of people, places, and things, however, and we find ourselves surprisingly at home on this border between plausible narrative and the wilder territories of the imagination.
This comprehensive selection reflects Bennet’s full range for the first time, and begins with poems from the early 1980s, when he arrived in Jon Silkin’s Stand at the no longer young age of forty. It draws on seven collections published since then and includes his major sequences: The Long Pack, Jigger Nods, Folly Wood, Bobby Bendick’s Ride, Landscape with Psyche and Ladderedge and Cotislea. New work introduced here centres on another major and powerfully imagined sequence, a colloquy which bridges three centuries to evoke the voice of the Quaker James Nayler, who was abominably punished for ‘horrid blasphemy’. The book concludes with a substantial group of recent poems.
Poetry Book Society Special Commendation.