The award-winning essayist and poet Rowan Ricardo Phillips presents a bracing renewal of civic poetry – his first publication in the UK.
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POETRY BOOK SOCIETY RECOMMENDATION
Living Weapon ‘is in conversation with a vast cast of historic forebears who enliven Phillips’s examination of the meaning, morality and musicality of poetry, his ‘living weapon’. . . and he is an eloquent and persuasive converser.’ Kate Caoimhe Arthur, PN Review
Living Weapon is a love song to the imagination, a new blade of light homing in on our political moment. A winged man plummets from the troposphere, four police officers enter a phone store, concrete pavements hang overhead. Phillips ruminates on violins and violence, on hatred and pleasure, on turning forty-three, even on the end of existence itself. His poetry reveals the limitations of our vocabulary, showing that our platitudes are inadequate to the brutal times we find ourselves in. And yet, through interrogation of allegory and symbol, names and things, time and musicality, a language of grace and urgency is found. For still our lives go on, and these are poems of survival as much as indictment. Living Weapon is a piercing, flaring collection from ‘a virtuoso poetic voice’ (Granta).
Living Weapon is a book that is both timeless and absolutely of its time. Subtle yet explicit, supple in its range of registers and fields of enquiry, it is full of moments of alluring and sensuous detail.
These poems of “song and pain” announce a bold new talent.
The poems here are expansive and curious, and they study contemporary life from the quotidian to the celestial. A perfect choice for the reader who wishes to be transported this summer.
Living Weapon 'is in conversation with a vast cast of historic forebears who enliven Phillips’s examination of the meaning, morality and musicality of poetry, his ‘living weapon’. Wordsworth, Donne, Heaney, Elizabeth Bishop, Arvo Pärt, Orpheus and Milton all step in to commend, argue with or bear witness to Phillips’s meditations, and he is an eloquent and persuasive converser.'
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