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The Book of Belongings

The Book of Belongings

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The Book of Belongings reads like an archaeology of the lost, its pages carefully uncovering and observing what has vanished, died or been abandoned. Visiting former theatres of war, remote landscapes of Scotland, France and Greece, pre-war classrooms and the nightmares of childhood, these poems are not afraid to gaze long and hard at what has been deliberately concealed, erased, or dismissed as worthless – the past with all its demons, its sad domestic litanies. Brian Johnstone writes with an enviable facility, often from unusual perspectives, eliding time and space, letting geography merge seamlessly into history and, in so doing, gives vanished histories a voice.

“A mature, elegant collection by a gifted poet.”
Kathleen Jamie, Forward Poetry Prize winning author of The Tree House

"These poems impose a quiet attention, reward careful reading. Low key, they are highly charged."
A.C. Clarke

"Brian Johnstone's writing is rounded in reality; it locates and combines symbolism with biography. 'The Home Service' is a fine poem, illustrating how we cope and do not cope with change and time... 'Class Photograph' evokes old school photographs. Poems of places in Scotland have an intimacy and sense of history. 'Firth' is very well-written, with a beautiful movement, rhetorical, yet of the human voice. This is an enjoyable collection by an accomplished writer."
John Idris Jones

"As someone who reads books of poetry as often as he’s able, for me Brian Johnstone’s The Book of Belongings came as a revelation. These poems are full of technical refinement, fascinating perspectives and provocative expressions... It’s powerfully done, a book to read end-to-end."
Stephen Lackaye, Edinburgh Review