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.

“Jellied Eels” in The Creel

The Creel Book Cover Did you know that hundreds of contemporary poets have written about eels? Me either, until this delightfully odd little anthology popped through my mail slot.

When Luke Thompson put out the call on Twitter, I responded with “Jellied Eels”, and he must have liked it. The poem appears on p. 70, flanked on all sides by sleek, lithe, and lovely poems all around.

I’m told Guillemot Press have made a limited run. So, catch one quick if you can.

You can also watch the film-poem we made of “Jellied Eels” online.


On “Reading Dostoevsky in the John Lewis Café, Welwyn Garden City”

Making an example of oneself isn’t always easy. Making an example of one’s poetry even less so.

Nevertheless, I took a stab at explaining some of the process behind writing the poem “Reading Dostoevsky in the John Lewis Café, Welwyn Garden City” in a new post on the Nine Arches Press blog. The poem appears toward the end of my new collection, Cyclone.

You can read the poem, and notes — on sincerity, irony, and class — as part of their “in conversation series”.

Cyclone Now Available

Cyclone by Robert Peake

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“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

Robert Peake’s second full-length collection of poems urges us to find shelter as a storm is gathering and the forces of destruction threaten to rip through anything in their path. These are matters of life or death, and Cyclone urges us to consider what the ill wind may bring, and how we will survive it.

“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

Peake’s poetry is acutely tuned, bringing eloquence and urgency to matters of profound devastation. With shattering delicacy, he writes of personal loss, of grief and the long aftermath; “whenever the wind sprays into my face, I taste salt of your absence”. These poems also hazard an eye at the global weather and find a world in turmoil, wild with unreliable news and terrible forecasts.

“Relentless and gorgeous, Cyclone is where poems of awe and of mourning the infinite
‘cognates of grief’ converge, bless and roar. In its searching for ‘What Will Survive Us,’
Robert Peake’s second collection is as tender as it is overwhelming, as intimate as it is
expansive. He asks ‘What becomes of longing / when the fire goes out?’ ‘Has there
ever been such a thing as progress?’ ‘How much do you need?’ and answers with
aftermaths, the ‘wild dance…between the gathering clouds and ionised land,’ a braving
of history and memory and home. I am deeply thankful for this book — its guts, its grace.”
-R.A. Villanueva, author of Reliquaria, winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize

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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.