In the eighties Paul Mills and his family lived in California, and travelled round the Western United States. Some years after their return he began a new life with his children as a single parent.
Certain moments, hardly noticed at the time, on reflection seem to have had direct designs on the future. They open up perspectives, emotional as well as physical, into a new space.
These poems revisit and dramatise these experiences, which fly up like fragments from an underground explosion, from a place which offered no sign.
Ted Hughes said of Half Moon Bay (Carcanet, 1993):
‘What I especially like is the rather apprehensive feeling that absolutely anything can happen … a big kit of metaphysical templates.
‘Your improvisations are genuine flying machines, bits and pieces from half the world in the rigging, but the thing takes off, and has that sort of beauty which works in the world and is meant to.’
Paul Mills was born in 1948. He was Gregory Fellow in Poetry at Leeds University 1976-78, and is currently Lecturer in the School of Literature Studies, College of Ripon and York St John, York. He has had three previous poetry collections published by Carcanet. Two of his plays have been performed, at the Royal National Theatre and at West Yorkshire Playhouse.