British poet Valerie Morton takes a close look at The Knowledge in a guest review on the website of Canadian poet E.E. Nobbs. How fittingly trans-Atlantic is that?
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.”