Published by Offord Road Books
In Spoils James Brookes advances a lyrical, frank and unsparing consideration of the England in which we find ourselves. While retaining the historical interest and folkloric reinvention of his spectacular debut Sins of the Leopard, Brookes has clarified his poetic concerns into the less comfortable questions of freedom and liberty. In this new book his praise of the achievements of one figure is necessarily tempered by a curt frustration at the lives not lived as a result of that achievement, of the successes not ever to be and, again and again, the suppression of women’s achievement. But these poems do not preach or lecture; rather, they plumb the deep well of history and language and come up each time with a glittering fragment. Here is the weirdness of heraldry, the intrigue of politics and war, finely drawn by a poet with an eye for texture and material; from time to time, in Brookes’s bestiary, we glimpse something dazzling in the corner of our eye. Everywhere in Spoils there is struggle, conflict, but the pantheon of strivers that Brookes employs assert his skill as a poet of high humanity, unshakeable conviction, and a consummate talent.
Praise for the Sins of the Leopard (Salt, 2012), shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize:
"The astonishingly acclomplished debut of a poet who will surely take his place among the very best of hisgeneration." Ian Duhig
"In Brookes’s hands, “Britain is real again”, suddenly lit up by the fierce glint of a scouring intelligence." Andrew McCulloch
"The weight of each line here, each clause and syllable, is perfectly judged... there is a strictness too, strongly evoking the poetry of Geoffrey Hill, as well as a playfulness more reminiscent of Paul Muldoon at his riddling
best." Tom Chivers