Poetry

Raising Sparks

After his first collection – SOFT KEYS – Michael Symmons Roberts was hailed by Les Murray as ‘a poet for the new, chastened, unenforcing age of faith that has just dawned’. The metaphysical concerns of that first book are central to this new collection, written in a language at once philosophical, sensuous and lyrical. From a doctor who washes lungs to the structure of genes, from mythical hounds born to fire to a cat’s-eye souvenir from a smashed-up road, the scope of this collection is impressive. Whatever the subject, these poems are concerned with elemental themes, with the mapping of experience, and the search for sparks of life at its heart. At the heart of RAISING SPARKS are two sequences – ‘Smithereens’ and ‘Quickenings’ – which form part of a continuing collaboration with the composer James MacMillan; the former set as a song cycle and the latter as amajor choral piece. These sequences – alongside intamate lyrics and dramatic meditations on creation, redemption and the end of time – show a poet of enormous range and depth.

Extract from Raising Sparks

CENTAUR

The story goes that when the war was won, two men on horseback at either side of Ypres could see each other stamp and blow. No stone on stone stood taller than a rider.Even for an eyewitness, the image pales. The clear line between man and mount has blurred. Now, hands cupped to its mouth, a hybrid clips across the debris, crying like a shell-fall for its mate.

Contents of Raising Sparks

Expecting
Fish Mobile
Centaur
The Advent House
Sun-Dogs
Fall
The Lung Wash
Topiary
Scintilla
The Eel Gatherers
Disarmed
Mapping the Genome
Overspill
Losing the Lip
Driftwood
Quickening
The Structure of Genes
Wedding
Salt
Swimming at Gadara
Tending the Flag
Power Cut
Spent
A Near Collision of Free Agents
Smithereens
A Free Lunch
A Calico Coat
Siblings
On Dyeing
Blood Lines
Boathouse
The Hospitality of Abraham
North Moving South
Hosea’s Body
Archaeology
Divers
Swarms
Star-Gazing
Sailboarders
History Makers
Why We Are Still Waiting
Quails
Wireless
The Shortest Day
Chicago Gilt
Shash
December Hoar Frost
Ultramarine
Stills
First Things
Cats Eye