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A new poetry collection from the award-winning writer of Corpus and Edgelands. 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

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.

Reviews

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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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback

    9780224093590

    April 15, 2013

    Jonathan Cape

    176 pages

    RRP $36.99

    Online retailers

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    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.co.nz

  • EBook

    9781448181407

    April 4, 2013

    Vintage Digital

    176 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle NZ
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