Thursday 14 October 2010

Tony Williams' The Corner of Arundel Lane and Charles Street (Salt, 2009)

I've enjoyed and appreciated this first collection by Tony Williams--so much precision and vigor! It's just been shortlisted for the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize.

There are more grains of sand than there are
windows in the offices of hell.

from "Sand"

my county town, my botched Eden

from "The Matlock Elegies"

Over the river, up on the hill,
up past the circular house of the witch,
through the thin street to the top of the road,
where the track runs down, and the old house is.

first stanza of "Gawain and the Green Shade"

the dusty hope
that all large buildings squash and cherish

from "The Town of K., in the Province of M."

chandeliers in the halls of Hades

from "Pressure"

Their sparse dramas flee the rain and sicken
for lack of motile air amid the cooking smells and easy chairs,
surrounded by miles
and miles of friendless arable.

Everyone ends up on their own, prowling the concrete town
in their shapeless sweaters, rehearsing reasons for failure and for
Liberal but desperate, they pair off
with their reduced ambitions.

from "A Lowland Palsy"

The dark hides
in its own shadow, shoots its mouth, the dad
of a young family, breeds, and will not be told.

last sentence of "Reproductive Behaviour of the Dark"

Angel's-wing or fly's-head orchid; name
and name and name. But still the sense of doom.

from "Variations on a Form
by Gottfriend Benn and Babette Deutsch"

dreamscape hovering in a mind
of wet streets familiar but unwalkable.

from "The Triumph of Orthodoxy"

The water pools, deepens, and clears its dulcet throat.

from "Izaak Walton's Flight"

The green and rose casts of the glass,
the house and the singing flowers--
their songs, grandparents and their gloom
muddled among the folk you bring in, your lot,
and other, half-familiar powers--they sing to you
of age and agelessness, and dare you to repeat their song.
It will die in your throat.

from "The Flowers Singing"

Buy The Corner of Arundel Lane and Charles Street direct from Salt Publishing.

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