David Harsent’s latest collection, here read by the author in its entirety, was received with wide critical acclaim when published in early 2011, and was Poetry Book Society Choice for Spring and short listed for the T.S. Eliot Prize. The collection won the Griffin Prize for Poetry in 2012, the largest and one of the most prestigious poetry prizes in the world. Among the poems that open “Night”, David Harsent’s follow-up to his Forward Prize-winning collection “Legion”, is a startling sequence about a garden – but a garden unlike any other. It sets the tone for a book in which the sureties of daylight become uncertain: dark, unsettling narratives about what wakes in us when we escape our day-lit selves to visit a place where the dream-like and the nightmarish are never far apart.
The book culminates in the seductive and brilliantly sustained ‘Elsewhere’, a noirish, labyrinthine quest-poem in which the protagonist is drawn ever onward through a series of encounters and reflections like an after-hours Orpheus, hard-bitten and harried by memory. The print edition is published by Faber & Faber.
[Dawn darkness is a bare blue light / and there’s a sound coming at you, most likely brought on by the wind / from a hillside forest or nicked off the skim of the sea ROTA FORTUNAE]
(@SpokenInk, 3 March 2013, audiobook, 2 hours 31 minutes, borrowed from @natpoetrylib via @OverDriveLibs, narrated by @DavidHarsent1)
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I’d never heard of the poet before. I was impressed by the last Spoken Ink couple of poetry audiobooks I listened to so have made it a mission to gradually listen to all of them. I decided to rad this after stumbling across some good reviews. I was very impressed by the range and depth of these poems and also by the subject matter. The title is apt as all of the poems focus on the darker aspects of human life such as graveyards, ghosts and alcoholism. The poems are quite surreal at times and I had to listen to a few until my ear became attuned. The poems are dense and I think would be better enjoyed and understood from reading the text rather than listening. I’ve found another new poet to explore.