> Skip to content

'A collection that constantly defies expectation... superb, substantial and intricately varied.' Kate Kellaway, Observer Shortlisted for the 2017 T. S. Eliot Prize PBS Autumn Recommendation

Shortlisted for the 2017 T. S. Eliot Prize
PBS Autumn Recommendation

Mancunia is both a real and an unreal city. In part, it is rooted in Manchester, but it is an imagined city too, a fallen utopia viewed from formal tracks, as from the train in the background of De Chirico’s paintings. In these poems we encounter a Victorian diorama, a bar where a merchant mariner has a story he must tell, a chimeric creature – Miss Molasses – emerging from the old docks. There are poems in honour of Mancunia’s bureaucrats: the Master of the Lighting of Small Objects, the Superintendent of Public Spectacles, the Co-ordinator of Misreadings. Metaphysical and lyrical, the poems in Michael Symmons Roberts’ seventh collection are concerned with why and how we ascribe value, where it resides and how it survives. Mancunia is – like More’s Utopia – both a no-place and an attempt at the good-place. It is occupied, liberated, abandoned and rebuilt. Capacious, disturbing and shape-shifting, these are poems for our changing times.

Reviews

There is pleasing variety here… Articulate and well-achieved… Symmons Roberts’s voice reverberates the most.

Declan Ryan, Literary Review

Superb, substantial and intricately varied... One of the wonderful things about Symmons Roberts is his way of pushing poems – and himself with them – in a direction you were not expecting. He constantly reconstitutes the world... Symmons Roberts reminds us of how easy it is to see human extremity without seeing it – a moving feat in what is a first-rate collection.

Kate Kellaway, Observer

Enchanting.

Tristram Fane Saunders, Daily Telegraph

It is a book for our times, hopeful yet grounded, and not above its subject.

Rory Waterman, The Times Literary Supplement

Read More

Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback

    9781911214298

    August 15, 2017

    Jonathan Cape

    88 pages

    RRP $30.00

    Online retailers

    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • Fishpond
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.co.nz

Also by Michael Symmons Roberts