Thomas Marks

Peripheral Visions

Edgelands: Journeys into England’s True Wilderness

By

Jonathan Cape 256pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

‘Edgelands’ seems an apt name for that strange territory where the city squares up to the countryside, the farms process sewage and the parks cultivate retail or business. Pushing together the tidy border of an ‘edge’ with the spatial and imaginative amplitude of ‘lands’, the term catches the friction that characterises our attitude to this often neglected world. Many people prefer to hurtle through it as though it didn’t exist, but for others – from joyriders to twitchers, graffiti artists to golfers – it functions as a playground or sanctuary. And, as this intriguing, lyrical enquiry by poets Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts demonstrates, the forgotten tracts of brownfield and landfill can incubate all manner of surprising creative opportunities.

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