"The Untenanted Room, with its elusive and haunting power, is unlike anything else I know of since Eliot and Hughes. It holds together a mythic personal narrative with the desolate gravity of our present general condition, in vigorous contemporary language which draws strength from its ancient roots and its kinship with the natural world, which we despoil even as it sustains us."
"It is an impressive work, deeply serious, ambitious, and powerful. It addresses personal issues; indeed, the 'place' where we are: 'that place / not properly inhabited, / swept clean, adrift, cut off, / hung on the grid of numbers'. Its language has a strong Anglo-Saxon feel, which corresponds to a feeling for earth, landscape, and the relation between language and the organic and animal creation."
James Simpson has always lived in the South Downs and his work is deeply rooted in that area. The Untenanted Room is his second collection in collaboration with the artist and printmaker, Carolyn Trant. His first collection was Hunting the Wren, again in collaboration with artist Carolyn Trant. He teaches part-time at the Open University.