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James Goodman’s evocative first collection is warm and inventive, dramatic and ethically-charged, picking its way through the clay country of mid-Cornwall as it tackles the ecological pressures on the natural world. Many of the poems take their inspiration from the scale and force of landscape, finding a unifying beauty in its geology, the maps that describe it and the industries that exploit it for mineral wealth. But this collection also ranges widely in subject, and includes poems on birds, sharks, deer, fish, limoncello, dimsum and the North American Bigfoot. Goodman balances the gravity of some of his observations with comedy and lightness of touch, which all lovers of poetry will find endearing and enlightening.
‘Where you or I might look at a thing, or be in a place, and think no more of it, James Goodman cannot help but write poetry about it. And the poetry is vital and succulent and makes you revel in the lusciousness of words, the deliciously unexpected metaphor, his magical handling of mystery where we thought there was none. Nor is he too earnest for a snigger and a giggle, for there is laughter in there too, and deftly crafted ecstasy and euphoria. For poems replete with zawn and clitter, there's nobody quite like him. Buy it; read it; and if you're like me, you'll love it.’ —Chris Stewart
‘These are poems crafted to match the physical nature and power of Cornwall’s post-industrial landscape, rich with awareness of the fractured histories that define this region far off the tourist trail. Cornwall’s mineral, maritime and moorland realities are present here in a vital and present-day idiom, shot through with tough and compelling lyricism. An exciting and thoughtful debut.’ —Penelope Shuttle