“…the voice in these poems is deeply reflective, defiant, and with doses of insect imagery” -Lorenia Salgado, Poetry International
Poetry International (SDSU) carries a micro-review of The Knowledge on their website today. Lorenia Salgado notes “the speaker’s intricate response to life’s perplexing moments” throughout the book’s three sections, and quotes passages from “Nocturne with Writer’s Block” to illustrate various forms of Kafkaesque metamorphosis.
Reflection. Defiance. Insects. What more could you want from poetry?
He rightly points out that the book is “fuelled by the poet’s insatiable wish to understand himself and the world around him”. Yet he also notes a the tempering influence, calling the work “equally restrained and voracious in … kaleidoscopic recording of the here and now.”
Noting the book’s cinematic quality, Florczyk observes, “Like a perfectionist cameraman, Peake is after the ‘dust in a shaft of light,’ recognising both its negative and life-affirming qualities.”
You can read the full review in the November print edition, and online.
If you already have one or more of these books, this is a great way to introduce them to a friend. I am also happy to sign and/or personalise the books — just make note of what you want with the order.
She calls the book, “strange”, “quirky”, and “honest”, and remarks, “What impresses me greatly is the author’s humanity, which I found very moving.”
Morton draws out themes of loss and culture shock in the first section of the book. Reflecting on the “difficult” middle section, she concludes, “the fact that America has been at war for most of its existence makes this section particularly enlightening.” About the London poems, she praises “such watchfulness and perception that I felt … invited to look at the city of my birth through new eyes.”
Finally, as a fellow poet, she seems to have a favourite:
Every poem in this unique collection is worth a special mention, but I cannot leave the book without showcasing one that holds particular significance for all poets — ‘Nocturne with Writer’s Block’ — where Robert Peake explores the two ‘selves’ of a poet with surprising honesty and produces an extraordinary piece of work on the secret life of writer’s block.
Finally, she praises the “beautifully produced and bound” object that is the book itself, concluding that, “It seems to tell you to be ready for anything and everything — a new kind of knowledge — dip your own eyes in and you will not be disappointed.”
She calls it “complex”, full of “subtle questioning”, which is what she likes best. She also praises the new format of the Nine Arches book itself, concluding, “Peake is lucky with his publisher — and they are lucky to have him on their list.” I do feel lucky indeed.
Whereas Prince found the middle section least in tune with the rest, Geoff Sawers hacks away at the final section of the book in a brief write-up for Shearsman Review. He tempers his dislike of the London poems with the idea that, “Poetry is not about averages; it’s more like the High Jump, where your best one counts.” “Last Gasp”, for him, is that one that counts, and “soars”.
As reviews and comments roll in, both in public and private, it would seem that I have written a book that is one part a kind of poetry anthology penned by my multiple selves, one part Rorschach test for its readership. Some days it feels like everyone’s an editor (and they don’t always agree), yet on a more positive note, it would seem that there is truly something for everyone in this book.
What do you think? If you’ve been provoked by The Knowledge, I’d love to read your thoughts in a user review on Goodreads or Amazon.