Kevin Jackson

Black Mountain Song

American Smoke: Journeys to the End of the Light

By

Hamish Hamilton 308pp £20) order from our bookshop

Near the start of American Smoke, Iain Sinclair cites a maxim from the subject of one of his chapters, the poet Ed Dorn. In Dorn’s view, all poetry derives from either the Iliad or the Odyssey: it’s either about staying put and ruminating on one’s home patch, or it’s about going out into strange territory and drifting. The bulk of Sinclair’s work has been in the former Homeric tradition. Over the past four decades, he has established himself as our most witty, obsessive and searchingly perceptive walker of London’s streets and waste grounds, rarely straying far beyond the confines of the M25.

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