Borrowed Landscapes, Peter Scupham's first book since his acclaimed Collected Poems of 2002, explores a hinterland of enchantment and nightmare, a landscapre whose contours reach back to Shakespeare's England by way of two world wars and a coming of age shaped by the Suez crisis and the Cold War. The barbarities of the twentieth century haunt the shadows; there is comfort in the graces of domestic life, in friendships and long memories, in cats and gardens and eccentricities. A sequence of poems honours the life of a scholarly father-in-law who fought in the Great War. In a parallel autobiographical sequence, 'Playtime in a Cold City', three undergraduate years in the 1950s become a touchstone for a lost pastoral, before the 'fields of youth' fade to memory, 'the lit faces of dead friends, / laughing'.
Generous, witty and shrewd, Borrowed Landscapes affirms Scupham's belief that when a 'murderous crew' of sorcerer's apprentices 'turn is to was', there is 'only a pen to turn was to is'.