Competing with the Piano Tuner
This collection dazzles with the sophisticated wit we have come to expect from this distinctive poet. Key themes recur: the opening sequence explores the many different sorts of heat -spiritual, sexual, emotional - inspired by the drought of 1995; the piano tuner himself is the almost God-like symbol of the longing for harmony that courses through the book, along with the clockmaker’s pregnant daughter; and the albatross, a recurring symbol of redemption, is discovered enshrined frozen in an iceberg in the final tour de force ’The Iceberg in the City of Charred Gothic and Glass’.
Liardet’s endlessly inventive conceits and formal skills complement intensely human and personal concerns. There is always a heart at the centre of the maze: "for Liardet", wrote J .P. Ward in Acumen, "control is all, and the art lies in the degree to which profound emotion is diverted into the deep part of the mind where it can turn into a search for exact vocabularies."