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The Flying Trapeze

One of the most significant voices of his generation from Wales, a new book by Duncan Bush is an eagerly awaited event. The Flying Trapeze, his sixth poetry collection and the first to appear after his notable ‘Midway’, is characteristically unsentimental, tough-minded, and fiercely lyrical. Many poems are inspired by places he has lived in or travelled to including: Australia, Greece, Germany, France, Luxembourg and the United States. In ‘Avedon’s Drifters’ he chronicles marginal lives as portrayed in masterly black & white photographs: vagrants, gypsies, minor criminals, the burnt-out, the bereft. In contrast there are poems like ‘A Blood Rose’ steeped in the full-blooded colours of the tango, and ‘Golden Girl’ in praise of superlative athletes. There is also a touch of bitter political satire in pieces like ‘Mitterand’s Last Supper’, ‘A Season in Sarajevo’ and ‘Lahore’. There are some fine, unexpected nature poems, which pinpoint the tension in his poetry between a sensual rapture and a knowing cynicism. The Flying Trapeze is an excellent new collection, never less than subtle, smart and true.

Duncan Bush creates a resilient dignity from individual acts of endeavour against the obliterating rapids of history

– Poetry Wales

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