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There is a reaching for the unsayable throughout this collection, whether it is thinking about the future, people’s inner lives or the shadows of place, O’Neill is wholeheartedly engaged with the unfathomable nature of living. To read these poems is to be part of his exuberance for the physical and visual experience of living, be that lying in a field, being with loved ones or watching the movement of light through a day. Each moment is brimming with imagery of its past and future, so these poems bring out the mutability and movement that both blurs and pinpoints events.
Michael O’Neill has lectured at Durham University since 1979, where he is a Professor of English. He co-founded and co-edited Poetry Durham from 1982 to 1994. His critical studies include The All-Sustaining Air (OUP, 2007), an exploration of Romantic poetry’s influence on poets since 1900. His first collection The Stripped Bed, was published by Collins Harvill in 1990, Arc published his second collection, Wheel, to critical acclaim.