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Winner of the 2013 Forward Poetry Prize for Best Collection
Winner of the 2013 Costa Poetry Award
Shortlisted for the 2013 T. S. Eliot Poetry Prize
Shortlisted for the 2015 Portico Prize

Michael Symmons Roberts' sixth - and most ambitious collection to date - takes its name from the ancient trade in powders, chemicals, salts and dyes, paints and cures. These poems offer a similarly potent and sensory multiplicity, unified through the formal constraint of 150 poems of 15 lines.

Like the medieval psalters echoed in its title, this collection contains both the sacred and profane. Here are hymns of praise and lamentation, songs of wonder and despair, journeying effortlessly through physical and metaphysical landscapes, from financial markets and urban sprawl to deserts and dark nights of the soul.

From an encomium to a karaoke booth to a conjuration of an inverse Antarctica, this collection is a compelling, powerful search for meaning, truth and falsehood. But, as ever in Roberts' work - notably the Whitbread Award-winning Corpus - this search is rooted in the tangible world, leavened by wit, contradiction, tenderness and sensuality.

This is Roberts' most expansive writing yet: mystical, philosophical, earthy and elegiac. Drysalter sings of the world's unceasing ability to surprise, and the shock and dislocation of catching your own life unawares.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 176 pages
  • 130 x 198 x 14mm | 214g
  • Jonathan Cape Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0224093592
  • 9780224093590
  • 303,450

Review Text

"150 poems of fifteen lines, tackling multiple subjects from peeling an orange to the universe's "scattergram of long-dead suns". Not a dud among them."
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Review quote

"He displays an amazing talent for intimacy on paper - sometimes, it almost takes your breath away." -- Kate Kellaway * Observer * "It's all implicit, subtle, hypnotic and often beautiful." * Monocle * "150 poems of 15 lines, combining dazzling elegance and a rare imaginative humility." -- Sean O'Brien * Independent * "150 poems of fifteen lines, tackling multiple subjects from peeling an orange to the universe's "scattergram of long-dead suns". Not a dud among them." -- Adam Thorpe * Times Literary Supplement * "Roberts' most ambitious collection offers a potent and sensory multiplicity." * Good Book Guide *
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About Michael Symmons Roberts

Michael Symmons Roberts was born in Preston, Lancashire in 1963. He has published six collections of poetry and received a number of accolades including the Forward Prize, the Costa Poetry Award and the Whitbread Poetry Prize. As a librettist, his work has been performed in concert halls and opera houses around the world. An award-winning broadcaster and dramatist, he has published two novels, and is Professor of Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
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Rating details

97 ratings
3.88 out of 5 stars
5 28% (27)
4 40% (39)
3 27% (26)
2 3% (3)
1 2% (2)
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