The new poetry collection from Hugo Williams.
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‘Lines off’ is a term used for lines spoken from the wings of a theatre, or off-camera in a film. It was while Hugo Williams was out of circulation following transplant surgery that he wrote the poems for this new collection – the first since I Knew the Bride (2014), shortlisted for the Forward and T. S. Eliot prizes. From youthful days ‘upside down in the Crazy Room, / rising and falling on the Haunted Swing’, he takes us to distant countries, both actual and metaphorical; participates in the ‘mortal pantomime’ of the hospital ward with humorous frankness; and offers a percipient account of growing older, with all its attendant doubts and disturbances. Autobiographical, psychological, remedial, Lines Off heralds the return of this acclaimed poet, back to the stage of the page, offering us ‘the performance of a lifetime’.
This highly readable volume turns terrifying experiences into verse that’s sometimes hyperreal,
sometimes surreal, and often verges on hallucination ... These are haunting, shining, untidy
poems ... vivid with emotion and experience.
Williams has a gift for making poetry read as effortlessly as conversation – a huge accomplishment.
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