Adam Thorpe's fourth collection continues his engagement with history: the living continuum that connects us with our near and distant past, nourishing and illuminating our present. Here are traces left of presence: Indian scratchings on rock, the nail-marks of destroyed frescoes, spoken fragments of war memories - petroglyphs that function as both memorials and re-awakenings, traceable with the finger of the imagination. And here, too, are images of the stilled, the stopped life: a snowed-up village, the paralysed victim of motor-neurone disease, a soft drink fermented in an old village cafe.
From this rueful equilibrium of mid-life, Thorpe circles his own personal history, allowing regret and anticipation their Janus-like say. These are erudite, generous poems, formally versatile yet rich in startlingly original observation and a natural lyric grace. Performing his unique archaeology on lives lived, Adam Thorpe once again displays the range of his imagination and the depth of his humanity.