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In his most daring collection to date, Chris McCabe delves into the shadowy recesses of London history, bringing forth unsettling anachronisms and revealing the city as a perilous place to exist. Taking its name from the term for a female spy, Speculatrix is at once the voyeur and the observed. Fame and death are McCabe's subjects, sifted and strained through his poems' urgent rhythms. At the heart of the book, a sequence of wild, neurotic sonnets tears at the corpus of Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre to conjure a visceral landscape of decay and financial collapse. Extending the collection beyond his trademark urban locale are startling poems for the loved and departed: from the artist Francis Bacon to the poets Arthur Rimbaud and Barry MacSweeney. In Speculatrix McCabe has pulled out all the stops, showing why he is considered one of British poetry's most arresting and pioneering spirits.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 80 pages
  • 139.95 x 215.9 x 4.57mm | 108.86g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1908058250
  • 9781908058256
  • 1,487,181

Review quote

'Speculatrix, [McCabe's] blazing, breakthrough fourth collection, explores the sleepless metropolis by Jacobean torchlight. Breathtaking verse combusts in dark Thames pubs where revenge-tragedy dramatists drink with hedge-fund managers.' SUNDAY TIMES; 'Deliriously anachronistic, Speculatrix is an act of witness as much to modern London as the early modern plays that inspire it ... One of the most original contributions to British poetry in quite some time.' AMBIT; 'This is a book of mirroring, of artful repetitions and binary reversals: life and death, men and women, dark and light, fecundity and decay ... McCabe approaches the actualities of love, death and loss with a steady, unflinching eye.' POETRY LONDON; 'In this haunted work, history, tragedy and comedy roil in energised and dynamic engagement with language of the early modern period, bringing it confrontingly into the here and now through a lens of gender, the gaze fixed on the stage of the poem, intrigue, injustice and the city of London.' JOHN KINSELLA
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About Chris McCabe

Chris McCabe was born in Liverpool in 1977. His three previous poetry collections are The Hutton Inquiry, Zeppelins and THE RESTRUCTURE. He has recorded a CD with The Poetry Archive and was shortlisted for the 2014 Ted Hughes Award. His creative non-fiction book In the Catacombs: A Summer Among the Dead Poets of West Norwood Cemetery was published in 2014. His work has been described by The Guardian as 'an impressively inventive survey of English in the early 21st century.' He works as the Poetry Librarian at the Poetry Library and teaches for the Poetry School.
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Rating details

12 ratings
3.41 out of 5 stars
5 25% (3)
4 25% (3)
3 25% (3)
2 17% (2)
1 8% (1)
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