Underground Facility

C E J Simons


We send all orders via Royal Mail: within the UK, choose from 1st Class, 2nd Class or Special Delivery; for the rest of the world, International Standard or International Tracked. Delivery and packaging charges are calculated automatically at the checkout.

To collect orders in person from the Bookshop, choose Click and Collect at the checkout.

Isobar Press
14 July 2018
ISBN: 9784907359249
142 pages

From the publisher

In Underground Facility, as in C. E. J. Simons’s first Isobar collection, imagined afterlives of Shakespearean characters bridge past and present: Oberon and Puck turn investment bankers, Gonzalo is deaf to the plight of Mediterranean refugees, while Sycorax might be an embodiment of the laws of thermodynamics. However, the earlier book’s refusal to anthropomorphize nature now gives way to symbolic representations of human life and history through animal portraits – a glass frog as a devoted father, hermit crabs as sex addicts, a grasshopper as an interplanetary missionary. Moreover, in place of celebrating poetic self-effacement, Underground Facility grapples with autobiography: poems about grandfathers, fathers, mothers and sisters engage with how we build ourselves out of inherited fragments, rituals, superstitions, and conflicts.

‘A book to be read on the pulses and in the chambers of the brain and heart (the latter the territory of ‘The Stent’, the fine closing poem for Simons’s father), Underground Facility is immediately accessible, formally capable, unafraid of the occasional barbaric yawp, and always engaged in a vivid recreation of experience. Readers will warm to the volume’s resilience, its stylish courage.’ – Michael O’Neill

‘C. E. J. Simons’s latest collection is one of polarities, in his search for meaning at mid-life: taking us from Japan to Canada, from the simplicity of the natural world to human delusions of grandeur, from childhood to a father’s declining strength. The book boasts a richly textured vocabulary, and a yin-yang balance in its two main sections, which enclose a third as their pearl: a series of sensual meditations on the oyster.’ – Claudia Daventry

‘In this intelligent and mystical collection, Simons reveals a world that is both soaked in the magical realism of Murakami and Yoshimoto, but which also reflects the reality of the magical. By intertwining myths and experiences from several cultures, peoples, and lives, this important collection investigates humankind’s indomitable, unnoticed, and sometimes unwanted imprint on the world which we inhabit. The result is a vital collection of poems through which to better consider the kaleidoscopic worlds of both the individual and the collective in this age of the Anthropocene. – Sam Illingworth