“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