The tightrope walker in the cover painting by Macke is symbolic of the author’s point of view in this collection of poems. It is a humorous acknowledgement of the precarious position of the artist in our times, and a hint at the poet’s predilection for balancing both personal and public concerns. The former are exemplified by some of the more light-hearted and affectionate poems here, such as ’My Sister Marrying Dirk Bogarde’; the latter appears in the ambitious eight-part sequence, ’The West End, Newcastle upon Tyne’, where colourful characters from modern Newcastle are related to their archetypal Shakespearean counterparts. World War Two remains an abiding obsession in ’The Eisenberg Elegies’ and in the moving elegy ’To Lore’. Also notable here are the poems inspired by the author’s travels in Australia, Germany and the USA.
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