Two Poems in Poetry Salzburg Review 32

Poetry Salzburg has been good to me and my work, including publishing The Silence Teacher in 2013. The two poems that appear in the latest issue represent the fifth time they have accepted work (including poems and reviews) for publication. I am truly grateful.

Grateful, also, for two excellent new poems by Abegail Morley, and an astute survey of her recent work by William Bedford. As always, beneath an enticingly surreal cover rests a trove of delights. You can order issue 32 from the website.

Here is a quick snap of the two poems in situ. The first one will also appear in Cyclone, which comes out next week.


Cyclone Now Available to Pre-Order

Cyclone by Robert Peake

“Cyclone takes the strengths of Robert Peake’s previous work  —  candour, intensity, a hard-won wit — and enters the storm, in search of an answer to the question raised by his heartbreaking ‘Why I Should Be Over It By Now’. Built around four remarkable sequences, this new collection takes him into the most difficult of territories — grief and parental loss — to recover the possibility, however fugitive, of healing. The ‘Cyclone’ here is both personal and political. In such turbulent and shrill times, this is his most powerful work to date.”
-Michael Symmons Roberts, author of Drysalter, winner of the Forward Prize

“Homesickness, belonging, and travelling without arriving are just some of the terrain covered in Peakes Cyclone, but it’s the vitality and emotional courage in the language of these poems that one is most struck by — language stepping in and out of the shadows and yearning ‘in the silt-choked afterlife of someone’s grief.’ A beautiful book that deserves to be lingered over and read widely.”
-Mona Arshi, author of Small Hands, winner of the Forward Prize for best first collection

£9.99. Expected July 24th. Ships worldwide.



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July Poetry Surgeries in St. Albans, Hertfordshire

I will again be offering a limited number of one-to-one “Poetry Surgeries” through the UK Poetry Society on Sunday, July 22nd. These one-hour sessions take place in a central location in St. Albans, Hertfordshire, near to parking, train, and bus links.

This is a great way to get new perspectives and reinvigorate your writing. So, if you or someone you know in Southeast England might be interested, please do have a look at The Poetry Society website to learn more and book your place.

Valerie Morton, author of two full-length collections of poetry, had this to say about our time together:

Having never done a ‘poetry surgery’ before I was a little apprehensive, but Robert Peake immediately put me at ease. He had done a lot of work on the poems I had sent in advance and helped me to look at them with new eyes. His thoughts and ideas helped me free up my language and inspired me to be braver with the material I had. I felt I was getting into a bit of a rut with my writing but I left this surgery feeling uplifted and encouraged to be unafraid to experiment more. It was one of the best value hours I have spent with a poet who I trust and whose own work I admire. It certainly helps lift a writer’s block.

Here’s to a summer full of great writing ahead!


The Man with the Kindest Face (Film-Poem Online)

<a href="https://vimeo.com/271929492"><img src="https://www.robertpeake.com/files/2018/05/tmwtkf-thumb.jpg" /><br />Click to watch</a>

The Man with the Kindest Face

The rear-view glimpse is fleeting
as he lets you into the lane.

He might not have a face at all
or change it like a set of masks—

behind a newspaper in the waiting room,
sliding over to make room on the bus.

You resolve next time to look at him,
risk letting him look back at you.

You taste the salt in your throat,
and you hear him ask, What’s wrong?

You smile at him and say, Nothing.
And you mean it. Nothing at all.

The man with the kindest face has change for a twenty

He doesn’t look rich. Yet his pockets overflow with coins. “How much do you need?” he asks, and you tell him. You want to tell him more—-that you need to believe, understand, be heard. He extends his closed hand like a magician. You expect nothing. You expect a dove to fly out from his sleeve. You open your hand, beneath his, and wait.

Process Notes

The poem is a splice of the first poem that opens my new collection Cyclone and one of the many poems featuring the same figure that recurs throughout the collection. The film is footage from the Prelinger Archives, which I projected cylindrically into a 3D rendering environment (Blender), rotating the camera to give a continuous scroll effect. I then sliced and flipped this, giving the Rorschach-test-like effect of imagery spilling out from the midline. We then projected this footage onto the face of our friend and actor Barney Wells with a sheet behind him and filmed it. Valerie once again composed and performed the music, and from there it all came together quite quickly in the editing process.


Poetry and Spiritual Practice (Interview Online)

The first poem I ever had published was in our church newsletter. I dictated it to my patient mother at the age of five.

At age fourteen, I started my daily practice of spiritual exercises (“SEs”), a form of active meditation. In my late twenties, I began writing poetry almost daily as well.

Coming full circle, I recently gave an interview to the church newsletter’s online successor, The New Day Herald, about the intersection of poetry and spiritual practice.

You can read the interview, along with a poem, here.