In Orbit

Glyn Edwards
Publication Date: 
Monday, February 27, 2023
No votes yet

“Grief, loss and the haunting power of memory are some of the themes deftly explored in this open and vulnerable collection. A skilful, impassioned dive into both the pain and comforts of nostalgia, In Orbit weaves its ideas into elaborate shape poems, zooming out to behold Venus before closing in on a dead starling, urging us to lean in closer ‘until your mourning makes it fly.’” – Matthew Haigh


On receiving news of a beloved teacher’s death, a man struggles with the loss of a relationship sustained by deep admiration and unrequited love. Memories of their shared journey are separated in three orbits where the man’s past, present, and future are punctuated by intense grief.

In Orbit uses a variety of innovative forms to explore loss, from traditional stanzas to prose poems to shaped poems in the form of birds, circuits, or hands. The narrative shifts in time, moving from his teen years to the present day when he himself has become a teacher, working alongside the man he mourns.

The book not only grieves the loss of the teacher, but also toxic standards for boys and men. Beyond human connection, sustenance is found in the moon, the stars, the sky, and nature. The discovery of a badger’s track or the treasure of a bird egg reminds us how small our trajectories are in the context of the more-than-human: an answer perhaps to the grieving process. In Orbit is a deeply moving account of love, longing, and loss.


“These poems are deep draughts of experience, rendered in a way that nothing in our age of rapid and simplistic judgments can do half as well as poetry.” – Philip Gross

“Our expanding perception of the universe pervades ‘in orbit’, illuminating its “diurnal courses" of love and longing.” – Paul Henry

“Each poem becomes a point of illumination in a constellation of grief. The numbness of regret is present in each line, as small human acts and tokens – a fingernail, an ellipse, a closed coffin – are consistently set against the immeasurable emptiness of space.” – Mark Pajak       


Review by Mab Jones, Buzz Magazine

Friday, March 31, 2023

Although grief is a major theme in this collection, In Orbit, there’s a playfulness and experimentation, particularly about form, which seems to sit in defiance of such stark finality; or which exists, perhaps, despite it. Poems take on the shapes of birds; hands; a planet or planetary circuit. Some poems lean, stanzas shuffling out like card decks; another interweaves its lines like the folding of prayerful fingers. Layers of extra association are offered, as a result of these, above and beyond the words themselves, which makes the book exciting even as it ponders more serious concerns.

Loss lies at In Orbit‘s heart, as mentioned, as do themes of love – an evergreen subject matter for poets – and toxic masculinity, which is far more untypical. I found myself impressed by Glyn Edwards’ bravery in exploring this subject, which marks him out as another young writer unafraid to probe and pierce with his own pen tip. In addition, there are pieces inspired by nature and the natural world – blackbirds, badgers, crows – and, of course, as the title would suggest, there are stars, moons, and planets in plentiful supply. Poetry might be a microscope, or a telescope; a scalpel, or a stethoscope. This book proves that Edwards has many such instruments at his disposal, and that that he keeps them sharp. Deftly written, and often sparsely, darkly beautiful, reading this book feels like recognising a constellation in the gloom.

User Reviews

Sorry there are no reviews yet for this book