Peter Scupham

Three New Collections

Coleshill

By

Chatto & Windus 64pp £10 order from our bookshop

Stag’s Leap

By

Cape Poetry 90pp £10 order from our bookshop

Go Giants

By

Faber & Faber 70pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

Coleshill is an idiosyncratic version of Auden’s ‘Thanksgiving for a Habitat’, a loving evocation and transformation of the Wiltshire village and landscape where Fiona Sampson feels most at home. Her poems celebrate walks on English earth loaded with flora and fauna, which are also walks on air, moving between memory and desire, often signposted by historical or theological markers. A phrase from St Augustine, ‘securus judicat orbis terrarum’ (‘the verdict of the world is conclusive’) – which for Newman enshrined ungainsayable Catholic truth – stands as epigraph to ‘The Corn Versicles’, where the pathway through ripening corn becomes a metaphor for life’s pathway. A shot bird ‘now starred/with bloody flowers’ soars and then stumbles out of the air at Badbury Clumps, the mythical site of Arthur’s siege of Mons Badonicus, where shadows pass as ancient violence passed; the poem closes on another bird climbing the air to freedom – or to another death. There is no sentimentality in her work, but an inclusive understanding. 

Follow Literary Review on Twitter