Peter Daniels has long demonstrated his skill as a poet who can write about being a gay man, and he now applies this to the experience of becoming older, finding new love and looking back on how he has reached this point. He recasts the story of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza into a sequence exploring confusion and sanity in a relationship. The poems play with the texture of language, in a range of forms.
‘Among the old men in his powerful new collection, Peter Daniels accepts his own decline but also welcomes ageing’s new perspectives. Memory flourishes within the older body, as one of its most vital, still functioning organs: ‘our old selves still / enclosed deep inside us’. Even so, the past is past. Daniels’ old gay men still have futures to explore. A long-term relationship comes to an end, opening up fresh opportunities for a body still open to extremes of pleasure and of love. He wryly observes the dignity of age’s indignities and, in a brilliant sequence on Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, how dotage can seem sane and balanced. His language maintains a lastingly erotic interface with the world, and from the old age of his own queerness Daniels derives ample evidence of the reassuring queerness of old age.’ —Gregory Woods
‘The poems in Peter Daniels’s new collection are personable and urbane, like old friends who have dropped in to share the latest news, but also sensuous and spiritual. They wear their formal flourishes lightly, but get to the very soul of things, so that when you reach the final line, you know you have been on a journey, and even if that journey is simply to Dalston Junction or to the shops, something has been transformed in the process.’ —Tamar Yoseloff
‘His strengths lie in his wit and an imagination that opens up new worlds, in pacing that sometimes works so well that the rhythms he achieves are like rivers in full spate.’ —Alyson Hallett, Poetry Salzburg
‘Counting Eggs is as diverse as it is consistent, drawing the reader back again and again, resisting the reviewer’s glib summation, but conjuring Robert Frost’s remarks about beginning in delight and ending in wisdom.’ —Times Literary Supplement
‘I like the way your poetry makes its aim to formulate the human uniqueness in its own terms — uniqueness of disposition, of sexuality, of whatever. An anti-generalizing poetry, perhaps. (Someone wrote a book called Homosexualities. I like the assertion that each case is different.)’ —Thom Gunn
‘This is a well-produced, attractive, and well-edited book. You will not be disappointed.’ —Brian Docherty, London Grip
‘A compelling hidden history of things. A matryoshka of meaning. A curated exhibition of memorabilia, tidbits and outfits, flora and fauna, places and spaces that make up a home, an identity, a life. It has the intimacy of a private view: visceral, humorous, philosophical, perceptive. We’re seduced by the things but more importantly, the poet’s flair for conjuring up absent things. A treat to read.’ —Patience Agbabi