Drysalter by Michael Symmons Roberts

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It is a book full of windows – often of literal transparency. We look out through panes of glass. In "Through a Glass Darkly", the beauty of the poem is its precision about imprecision...
-Guardian

Synopsis

This title is the winner of the 2013 Forward Poetry Prize for Best Collection. It was shortlisted for the 2013 T. S. Eliot Poetry Prize. It was shortlisted for the 2013 Costa Poetry Award. It was shortlisted for the 2015 Portico Prize. Michael Symmons Roberts' sixth - and most ambitious collection to date - takes its name from the ancient trade in powders, chemicals, salts and dyes, paints and cures. These poems offer a similarly potent and sensory multiplicity, unified through the formal constraint of 150 poems of 15 lines. Like the medieval psalters echoed in its title, this collection contains both the sacred and profane. Here are hymns of praise and lamentation, songs of wonder and despair, journeying effortlessly through physical and metaphysical landscapes, from financial markets and urban sprawl to deserts and dark nights of the soul. From an encomium to a karaoke booth to a conjuration of an inverse Antarctica, this collection is a compelling, powerful search for meaning, truth and falsehood. But, as ever in Roberts' work - notably the Whitbread Award-winning Corpus - this search is rooted in the tangible world, leavened by wit, contradiction, tenderness and sensuality. This is Roberts' most expansive writing yet: mystical, philosophical, earthy and elegiac. Drysalter sings of the world's unceasing ability to surprise, and the shock and dislocation of catching your own life unawares.
 

About Michael Symmons Roberts

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Michael Symmons Roberts has published five collections of poetry, including Corpus, which won the 2004 Whitbread Poetry Award and was shortlisted for the Forward, T.S. Eliot and Griffin International Prizes. He has also published two novels, Patrick’s Alphabet (2006) and Breath (2008), and a non-fiction book Edgelands (2011, with Paul Farley) which won the Jerwood Prize and the Foyles Book of Ideas Award. He is a frequent collaborator with the composer James MacMillan (their opera for Welsh National Opera, The Sacrifice, won the RPS Award) and is also an award-winning radio writer and documentary film-maker.www.symmonsroberts.com
 
Published April 1, 2013 by Jonathan Cape. 151 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Drysalter
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Adam Newey on Sep 27 2013

The fierce, seemingly unbreakable grip that "all this ersatz world" maintains on us is what holds Drysalter together. Far from being the result of divine agency, the visible world, it seems, is mere illusion; the great convulsions of human history are purposeless, the operation of blind chance...

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Kate Kellaway on Apr 20 2013

It is a book full of windows – often of literal transparency. We look out through panes of glass. In "Through a Glass Darkly", the beauty of the poem is its precision about imprecision...

Read Full Review of Drysalter | See more reviews from Guardian

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