Rogue Strands of The Knowledge Deftly Woven

Jacob Wrestling with the Angel by Gustave DoréMatthew Stewart of the Rogue Strands blog tussles with The Knowledge in a new review on his website, and comes away invigorated from the struggle.

He takes firm hold of two key threads in the collection — loss of innocence, and relating to London as an outsider — through deft commentary and concrete example. He calls the work “ambitious” and “cunning” and decides “one of Peake’s stand-out qualities is his ability to bring his poems to an arresting close”. Most encouragingly, he upholds that despite being written by an outsider/in-betweener, “British readers are rewarded with a view of London that encourages reassessment.”

You can read the full review on the Rogue Strands website.


The Knowledge Has Arrived!

First Read of The KnowledgeOn Friday, I attended a small private London launch for the second edition of a book by my friend and former boss, David Allen. His methodology has been the key to creating the space in my life for poetry amidst a dynamic career in technology and management consulting, and a generally full trans-Atlantic life.

Having sold more than two million copies of his Getting Things Done book in nearly 30 languages, I jokingly asked over lunch for any tips on avoiding hand cramp when signing great numbers of books at once. Pre-orders for my debut full-length poetry collection The Knowledge have, after all, been rolling in.

That afternoon, I got the good news that books had arrived from the printer, and whizzed up to meet my publisher Jane in Milton Keynes, the preferred halfway point between where we both live. Despite the appearance of Milton in the name, I find Milton Keynes to be one of the least poetic cities in Britain — essentially England’s answer to Orange County. And so it was in a coffee chain store inside a glass-and-steel mall that I first laid hands on this beautiful book.

What can I say? It is a lovely object. Small but important details that I couldn’t have gleaned from the PDF galley — like the way in which facing-page poems interrelate thanks to expert pagination — surprised and impressed me. The entire experience of working with Jane has had a ring of rightness about it, and the finished product feels good in so many way, including tactilely — from the French flaps to the sturdy off-white pages to the matte-finish cover.

I am looking forward to my launch tour next week — Wenlock, Cheltenham, then New York. What a pleasure it will be to read from this lovingly-produced new book.

If you would like to hold a copy in your own hands, you can order it here.


The Knowledge Gets Sabotaged

Sabotage ReviewsBethany W. Pope of Sabotage Reviews took a critical eye to an advance review copy of The Knowledge, and found it every bit as surprising as I hoped it might be to a perceptive reader.

She begins her review:

Robert Peake’s The Knowledge (Nine Arches Press) is a subtle, tender collection whose mixture of narrative and descriptive images inexorably draws the reader on to (occasionally painful) revelation.

And concludes:

Peake’s great strength is that he knows what death is, and is not afraid to make us look at it. The fact that he leads us there slowly, moving with precise and careful gentleness, shows that (as a writer) he is kind, as well as skilled.

Herself a poet deeply concerned with social justice, and committed the possibilities of form, she takes evident delight certain poems along the way (such as the crown of sonnets near the end), and is unafraid to voice her dislike of others.

Overall, she seems to have enjoyed the journey, and points out many small but important details along the way.

You can read the full review at Sabotage Reviews.


Four Poems from The Knowledge (Plus Video)

The Knowledge is quirky, wide-ranging, luminous and completely enthralling. If there were an A  —  Z of all the places poetry should take us, this would be it.”

 — John Glenday

Nine Arches Press has compiled four poems from my forthcoming collection, The Knowledge, along with a video of me reading one of the poems and answering some questions about it.

For those of you who have been curious about what this new book might contain, here is a sneak peek between the covers.

Enjoy.


The Knowledge Now Available to Pre-Order

“The work is elegant and strong. If it is silk, then it is silk over steel.”
-Rachel Stirling, stirlingwriter.com

The Knowledge by Robert PeakeI am excited to announce that The Knowledge, my debut full-length collection of poetry, is now available to pre-order directly from the publisher at the Nine Arches Press website.

The book ships worldwide, at reasonable rates, at the end of April. It contains poems begun in my MFA in Writing programme as well as many written in response to the remarkable past four years living in and near London. Nine Arches Press won “Most Innovative Publisher” in the most recent voter-picked Saboteur Awards and working with them to bring this book to light has been an absolute pleasure.

By ordering now direct from the publisher, you ensure that you will be amongst the first to get your copy. I do hope that you will consider “doing The Knowledge” and, above all, that you enjoy the poems.


Silk Over Steel: First Review of The Knowledge

Good things happen on Twitter.

I have Gail Borrow to thank for introducing me (and my work) to Rachel Stirling via this recent tweet exchange.

I scrambled an electronic review copy of my forthcoming book The Knowledge, and she read deeply into the poems.

The poet moves from couplet through the numbered stanzas to free verse, and back again, with confidence and grace. The pace is impressive, largely because the poems are a joy of enjambment. … The work is elegant and strong. If it is silk then it is silk over steel.

You can read Rachel’s full review, and many equally astute others, on stirlingwriter.com.

Also, if you write reviews in print or online and would like to peruse your own copy of The Knowledge, please do get in touch.


London Poems in The Knowledge

I am currently on the other side of the world from London, flying from Sydney to Hong Kong.

Yet London has been my residence and preoccupation for the past several years, culminating in my forthcoming debut full-length collection of poetry, The Knowledge.

Many of the poems are set in a specific place in London. So, as supplement to a more traditional table of contents, what follows is an interactive Google map of poem titles, including links to online version of the poems where applicable.

<a href="https://mapsengine.google.com/map/viewer?mid=zFGf_lwPvijI.knpShiwKF_I8"><img src="http://www.robertpeake.com/files/2015/01/london-poems.png" alt="London Map" class="alignnone" style="width: 100%; max-width: 800px; min-width: 320px; border: 0;" /><br />Click here to view the map</a>