Near-Life Experience

Rowland Bagnall


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Carcanet Press Ltd
28 March 2024
ISBN: 9781800173903
88 pages

From the publisher

Strike up music! Scope tomorrow’s printless straits!
I slice the tomatoes, saving their skins – their seeds
                    freckle the countertop. No ideas but in
No ideas but in things – tell me
                    about it...

The poems in Near-Life Experience are curious about the present moment, its weather and animals, its objects and things. They want to make it real in language, catching it before it vanishes. Documenting landscapes, paintings, insects and trees, Near-Life Experience offers a world where understanding is subverted by the day’s distractions and the unexpected shapes of the imagination.

How do I relate to this? What does it mean? What’s happening, exactly? Does experience experience me? With descriptive precision and inventiveness, the poet finds humour and panic at the edges of the actual. The poems measure expanding and contracting times, birthdays, seasons, climate breakdown, witnessing the moment and its ‘sheer / ongoing changes’.