The Customs House

Andrew Motion
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ISBN 9780571288106 Format Hardback
Published 18/10/2012 Length 96 pages

About Book

Andrew Motion's new book opens with a sequence of war poems (first published as the pamphlet Laurels and Donkeys, on Armistice Day 2010), drawing on soldiers' experiences from 1914 until today - beginning with a story about Siegfried Sassoon and moving via World War Two and Korea to recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many poems are in the voices of combatants, others are based on memories of the poet's father, who landed at D-Day and fought in France and Germany. They combine delicate understatement with a clear-eyed and unswerving candour.

The Customs House has other rooms: a group of loving topographies, mapping moments in a marriage against the contingencies of place and family history; and several 'found poems', in which the poet collaborates with his source, mixing what is there with what is not yet there, to uncanny effect: a remarkable sonnet sequence on the last days of the Baroque genius Francesco Borromini, and in other poems a richly imagined extrapolation from the silent premises of a painting.

  • About Andrew Motion

    Andrew Motion was UK Poet Laureate from 1999 to 2009 and is co-founder of the online Poetry Archive. In 2015 he was appointed Homewood Professor in the Arts at Johns Hopkins University; he lives in Baltimore. Andrew Motion was knighted for his services to poetry in 2009. 

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