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This lively second collection from a young, much-travelled writer, falls into two parts. ‘Transit’ includes poems of abroad, especially Japan, where Tobias Hill lived for two years. ‘Back to the City’ is about London, from hangover to Underground; Hiroshima; and the `City of Clocks’, a fusion of cities and ages. They are poems crammed with a young man’s curiosity and eye for detail, and show his great ability for story-telling. Tobias Hill lives in London, and besides writing (his short stories and novels are published by Faber) he reviews and edits several new magazines.
“Hill’s special territory, in poetry and prose, is the ‘urban-pastoral’ ... his native North London is transformed, with many deftly dark touches, into an uneasy realm of the imagination. Hill clearly appreciated Simon Armitage’s storytelling persona; he also drew upon observation of the natural world in ways associated with Ted Hughes. Much of his imagery is by turns delicately ‘Japanese’, or reminiscent of the heyday of Craig Raine’s ‘Martian’ style. Hill has a romantic dimension in his work that is all his own. As a young man with an intense curiosity about the world, his work is full of sensual images, vignettes of city life – and romance ... these are poems of flirtation and desire.”
“The closeup detail taken directly from nature, then skewed through 90° to give the reader something completely new, even unique ... with this third collection, Hill promises to be a real force in poetry, displaying an utterly contemporary understanding of how nature continues to work.”
“There is a fin de siècle decadence about them ... not least in their brightly coloured diction, their luxuriant descriptiveness, their louche postures.”
“Superb conjurations of place.”
—Adam Mars Jones
“Compassionate and intelligent ... so full of action and interest and that brings alive such an array of people and places, that it is difficult to believe they sprang from the pen of one writer.”
‘He has developed an austerely sensual technique ... As a first collection, this is talented and interesting.’ —Times Literary Supplement
‘An impressively controlled first collection ... As Hill develops less distanced sensibility to go with his undoubted technique, he could prove to be very interesting.’ —Robert Potts
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