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Salt is a distinctive new assembly of poems by the multi-award winning David Harsent. Resting somewhere between fragment and exposition, these intense and primal pieces stretch out across the measure of the page in the form of brief utterances. One extends to sonnet-length, one consists of a single line; but each piece uniquely completes its own world, and at the same time shades on to the next as a succession of frames and stills and imaginings that lends light and colour in the round. ‘The poems in this book are a series, not a sequence,’ the author explains. ‘They belong to each other in mood, in tone and by way of certain images and words that form a ricochet of echoes – not least the word “salt”.’ Mineral, eerie, sensory, the poems in the collection are experienced as encounters – some with the surety of daylight, others in dream-life – that refresh with the turning of each page. Like a set of shared notes or little fictions passed through space from hand to hand, the writings build powerfully to make Salt an unforgettable volume from this most visionary of writers.
‘As for poetry, it was a rather thin year, but one book by David Harsent makes up for a great deal, and Salt (Faber & Faber) is a masterpiece.’
‘David Harsent’s remarkable Salt (Faber) is a “series, not a sequence” of short poems united by a “ricochet of echoes”, a magic-lantern show for the psyche: “Wind-driven salt in the crevice of a rock is how / memory works: image, invention, regret”.
‘One of the most daringly inventive experiments with sound in contemporary poetry … a truly remarkable book to ponder and savour.’
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