As a Said Place

John Hall


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Shearsman Books
24 March 2017
ISBN: 9781848615038
86 pages

From the publisher

"blink / and the outline is lost" As a said place gathers together poems written since Keepsache (2011). The book is shaped around 'I'm on the Train', a sequence prompted by and on a repeated train journey from home to work through parts of Devon and Cornwall. It returns to the spirit of John Hall's early book, Days. In each case the poems arise from the contingencies of the everyday and respond to the language demands that these seem to make. Before and after this sequence are clusters of individual poems, including the title poem, a fragmentary meditation suggested by reading the philosopher, Emmanuel Levinas. All the poems share a sense that poetry, among its other qualities, is also a mode - or a set of modes - of thinking: the saying of the world continues to matter, as does its unsaying, and that this by no means brings ease: the broken lines that constitute poetry negotiate ambivalent relations with the continuities of speech, with syntax, with the carefulness of thought.