In language that is both precise and strange, Richard Skinner
’s poems tip certainties on their heads, making familiar objects in the world unfamiliar: a mountain is not what it seems, a skull contains a universe. Alongside this process of ‘making-strange’ lies a deep connection with sound, colour, temperature and scent that brings the poems fully to life. Questions of faith run through many of these poems, with subjects ranging from the Lollards and Buddhist Bardos to Saint Fabiola. There are personal poems too: a summer affair, family narratives about his grandmother’s difficult marriage and his mother’s time abroad as a young au pair. These poems engage with form – the cento, the cinquain, the unrhymed sonnet, cut-ups and free verse – in enigmatic, other-worldy ways that constantly surprise and please.