Dysthymia [Poem]

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Dysthymia

I don’t really want to do anything — 
not peep through the small doors
at mice living out unimaginative lives
or run a finger over the beaded skin
of a rattling snake, coaxing venom.

In my mind I could be anywhere, and yet — 
out of the piles of driftwood, small crabs
are fighting for their well-armoured lives,
and so I stoop with my flaming stick
and prod the wet sand, and it sizzles.

I can’t even be bothered to autocorrect.
The wet lips of the python beckon from a tree,
and isn’t it always that tree to blame,
as though Knowledge itself corrupted us,
rather than we ourselves through its mis-use.

The dice fall beneath the crucifix.
A bet is a bet, and the spear goes in.
The rules made up in childhood we follow
like a sleepwalker throughout our life,
for it is dangerous, they say, to wake us.


Cyclone Reviewed in London Grip

Cyclone has all the technical skill and emotional strength of a book written by a poet at the height of his abilities…”

-Adele Ward, London Grip

Poet and academic Adele Ward takes a critical eye to the form, themes, and emotional undercurrents of Cyclone in her latest review for London Grip.

She praises both its craft and handling of emotionally difficult subject matter, and even picks up on obscure references I feared would be all but lost on most readers (such as the Tasmanian devil cartoon and Judy Garland’s opioid exploitation).

It is heartening to encounter any reader so invested in undestanding the work, let alone one willing to set down their ideas so thoughtfully.

You can read the full review on the London Grip website.


Cyclone Reviewed by Rachel Carney

Rachel Carney of the Created to Read website gives a sensitive, perceptive read of Cyclone.

Peake’s style is varied, but all his work is playful and considered, full of irony and interwoven with imagery that reflects the turbulence and chaos of the natural world. Although the themes of grief and nature seem quite separate, Peake’s tone of voice  —  analytical, questioning, ironic  —  pervades the collection.

Rachel Carney

You can read the full review on the Created to Read website.


Cyclone one of The Spear’s Big Reads of 2018

As 2018 draws to a close, Cyclone finds itself in some remarkable company as part of The Spear’s Big Reads of 2018 list as a “standout book of the year”.

Deputy Editor Chris Jackson wrote, “Peake’s collection of poetry — his third — is a magnificent meditation on grief and its aftermath, all taking place within a climate change-conscious world where, as one poem says, ‘a threat to our way of life, is a threat to our life.”

As it happens, Cyclone is also currently available for a limited time at 50% off the cover price when ordered online directly from the publisher. So if you’re poetry-curious, or want a few additional copies to give as gifts, now is a great time to get your hands on the book Michael Symmons Roberts called “[my] most powerful work to date.”

Well, that’s quite enough tooting of one’s own horn for the year. Wishing you joyful holidays and a peaceful, poetry-filled start to 2019.