I have been a fan of the Displaced Nation Dispatch for awhile now. Their by turns provocative and reassuring regular articles by and for expats have been a rich part of my experience living in the UK. So I am delighted that today they are carrying my “tiara” of poems, “Smoke Ring”, from The Knowledge on their site.
Nine Arches Press in collaboration with Leeds Ebooks has done an excellent job bringing The Knowledge into an all-digital format. If you got a Kindle, iPad or tablet for Christmas, or have been holding off reading The Knowledge due to international shipping costs, now is your chance to get it for a song.
I have a long list of e-book pet peeves, but this version has been expertly done. The table of contents is hyperlinked, font sizes can be adjusted to taste, and — best of all — it wraps long lines of poetry correctly with hanging indents. Apart from the formatting, you might also enjoy the contents.
Let it snow ones and zeroes!
My copies of Poetry Salzburg Review 28 arrived today, with its signature surrealist cover holding nearly 200 pages of enticing poetry and reviews.
Among them are two new poems from me — “The Computer Programmer’s Wife”, to which I expect many a beleaguered techno-spouse might relate, and the off-kilter Anglophonic lament “Getting On With It”. I am also looking forward to mining out new nuggets from familiar names like Piotr Florcyzik, Kim Moore, and Rob A. Mackenzie.
The review of The Knowledge is a ringing endorsement (I had to sit down) from Ian Watson which concludes, “The problem with The Knowledge is that there are just too many striking images, too many poems to cite. Just go out and buy it.”
Along the way, he points out poems that take up topics that teachers will often advise beginning writers to steer clear from, such as common birds or writers’ block — and notes how these poems succeed, almost defiantly, anyway. He points out my preoccupation with fleeting detail, and calls the work, “erudite, urbane and at times intriguingly evasive.”
If you’re at all intrigued by any of this, you can order your copy of Poetry Salzburg Review 28 directly from their website, or better yet subscribe.
“If you don’t read Robert Peake’s The Knowledge as a taking-up-again of existential conversation, you’re doing it wrong.” Thus begins Abby E. Murray’s confident and considered review of my new collection for Fjords Review. It is a gift to be read at all, and clear that Abby has spent quality time with the book and her own reflections on it.
I read the review aloud to my wife, Valerie, who said that it brought her new insight into certain poems. (This from someone who practically knows them all by heart.) Abby ends with some thoughts on the poetic confraternitas (as Miłosz put it) that transcends geographic distance.
I am about to get on a plane to visit family for Thanksgiving, and meet a new nephew. I couldn’t think of a better send-off.
“…the voice in these poems is deeply reflective, defiant, and with doses of insect imagery”
-Lorenia Salgado, Poetry International
Poetry International (SDSU) carries a micro-review of The Knowledge on their website today. Lorenia Salgado notes “the speaker’s intricate response to life’s perplexing moments” throughout the book’s three sections, and quotes passages from “Nocturne with Writer’s Block” to illustrate various forms of Kafkaesque metamorphosis.
Reflection. Defiance. Insects. What more could you want from poetry?
Los-Angeles-based Piotr Florczyk takes on The Knowledge in a new review for World Literature Today (University of Oklahoma, founded 1927).
He rightly points out that the book is “fuelled by the poet’s insatiable wish to understand himself and the world around him”. Yet he also notes a the tempering influence, calling the work “equally restrained and voracious in … kaleidoscopic recording of the here and now.”
Noting the book’s cinematic quality, Florczyk observes, “Like a perfectionist cameraman, Peake is after the ‘dust in a shaft of light,’ recognising both its negative and life-affirming qualities.”
You can read the full review in the November print edition, and online.