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Drawing in Ash, is prize-winning poet Will Stone’s second collection from Salt. These compelling poems are divided into three parts, dealing with subjects such as war and genocide, and the Roman ruins of Provence – historic realities which are unpalatable and to which our current society, despite the indulgence of drawing on a vast intellectual and historical warehouse, is unable to properly determine or clarify. The poems of Provence, in particular, deal with the nature of the plethora of ancient ruins that emerge from the earth in that region, like the stubborn backbones of some pre-historic creature, and their peculiar poetic significance for us today.
These poems come from a real existential engagement and follow the old dictum that a poet must respond to his time, how things are now, whilst not letting history off the hook.
‘Whilst shifting the lens slightly from the devastating surveillance of his first collection of poems, Glaciation, Will Stone’s vision remains constant, evolving a cerebral inclination for the sublime image. Drawing in Ash is a remarkable piece of time travel, roaming through the churchyards and back alleys of Europe where Stone frequently memorialises previously untapped biographical moments within extraordinary lives ... The Poet adopts the guise of medium and historian in a powerful book of poems that never relents, never misses its targets.’ —James Byrne
‘At his best, Stone is a poet of place, but of place etherealised and clouded over by a relationship between landscape and emotion that is no less powerful for being tenuous.’ —Patrick McGuinness, Poetry Wales
‘Stone has a definite flair for the striking image and, taken one by one, his jarring visions of a profligate civilization trapped in a fatally debased environment are rawly compelling.’ —Sarah Crown, The Guardian
‘The sense of the ominous, of a threat that lies beyond pervades the volume, expressed in a vision that combines ecological awareness with a weirdly, and refreshingly, detached view of human actions and bodies (quote from ‘Restoration’)…Stone looks consistently outward to the things people have suffered and done both to themselves and to the planet… At times the poems have a tinge of that non-logical verbal scrambling which, whilst seeming slapdash, is sometimes also the mark of great verbal creativity…Stone’s work is undeniably the real thing.’ —Grevel Lindop, The Warwick Review
‘Stone is hard, urgent and angry: expressions of righteous indignation are rarely attractive and we may not thank Stone immediately for lifting our blinkers, but Salt are to be congratulated for recognizing this important poet… It is clear that Stone has, as poets must, thoroughly absorbed poetic tradition in order to produce a new voice that, while it owes something to what has come before, is nonetheless entirely original.’ —Simon Darragh, The London Magazine