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The Water Table

The Water Table

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Winner of the 2009 T.S. Eliot Prize

A powerful and ambiguous body of water lies at the heart of these poems, with shoals and channels that change with the forty-foot tide. Even the name is fluid – from one shore, the Bristol Channel, from the other Môr Hafren, the Severn Sea.

Philip Gross’s meditations move with subtle steps between these shifting grounds and those of the man-made world, the ageing body and that ever-present mystery, the self. Admirers of his work know each new collection is a new stage; this one marks a crossing into a new questioning, new clarity and depth.

"A book of great clarity and concentration, continually themed but always lively and alert in its use of language. Gross takes us from Great Flood to subtly invoked concerns for our watery planet; this is a mature and determined book, dream-like in places, but dealing ultimately with real questions of human existence."
Simon Armitage, T.S. Eliot Prize judges' comment.

"Great poetry is like walking on water. In this paradoxical, humane collection, Philip Gross achieves that miracle."
Polly Clark, The Guardian

"Gross has created an accomplished and thematically unified book with a distinctive vision."
Sameer Rahim, Daily Telegraph

"A humble book, full of fine language."
Natalie Whittle, Financial Times

"This is a very rich and accessible collection to be relished on the bus or the beach as well as in the university library."
Peter Bennet

"This collection brings wider recognition to this subtle and versatile writer."
Good Book Guide

Philip Gross is Professor of Creative Writing at Glamorgan University. He has published six books with Bloodaxe, including The Water Table (2009), winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize, The Egg of Zero (2006), Mappa Mundi (2003), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, and Changes of Address: Poems 1980-1998 (2001). He is also the author of ten highly-praised novels for young people. Born in Cornwall, he lived in Bristol and Bath for many years, and now lives in Penarth in South Wales.