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Christopher Reid

The Costa Award-winning poet’s ingenious new collection of poems is an investigation and test of Wordsworth’s famous adage: ‘the Child is father of the Man’.

9 in stock

£14.99£12.99
Format
Hardback
ISBN
9780571376605
Date Published
02.02.2023
Delivery
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Summary

In Christopher Reid’s marvellous new collection, a schoolboy furtively and thrillingly drops a marble through the top of his desk so that it makes its way in darkness along a complicated chute of books, rulers and rubbish, only to emerge from a hole in the base and be caught deftly in his other hand. The poem is titled ‘Homeric’ and might serve as a clue to the mood and construction of the collection in general, where the poet, now in his seventies, seeks to track down and commune with his much younger self. It is an investigation that tests Wordsworth’s ‘the Child is father of the Man’ by contriving a series of transtemporal encounters between two selves who may now, conceivably, begin to understand each other.

Reid was born in Hong Kong and, thanks to the roving nature of his father’s employment, spent some of his childhood in foreign places. Most of the locations in this book, however, are the Britain of the 1950s and ’60s – perhaps, at this distance in time, no less exotic. As the poems move from pre-verbal experience to adolescence, the younger self is captured in scenes that illuminate the steps by which a man – a poet – has been raised. Another poem conjures up the childhood of Henry James in order to reflect on ‘the large part / mystery plays in both childhood and art’, a proposition that the book as a whole may be said to endorse through both its wondering gaze and its ingenuity.

ChristopherReid

Christopher Reid is the author of many books of poems, including A Scattering (winner of the Costa Book of the Year Award 2009), The Song of Lunch, Nonsense and The Curiosities. For his first collection of poems for children, All Sorts, he received the Signal Award 2000. From 1991 to 1999 he was Poetry Editor at Faber & Faber, where…

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