Rain Rider is a book of echoes and allusions, mirrors and reflections: words are signs that keep changing their position, taking new forms, suggesting new ideas, as they recur, recto/verso. Briggs’s vision is essentially ludic and irreverent, whether he’s evoking the plangent nostalgia of the Test Card, conjuring the Devil, or riffing on an artisan perfume. Rain Rider is a book of forms, of thought poured into vessels: it begins with a rain-filled chalice and closes with an upended urn of ashes. Through it all, in a returning sequence, we find archetypal figures – the Fool, the Hermit, the Mariner and Thief – as though running amok in the serifed leading of the typeface.
‘Briggs has an artist's eye for detail, but it's an artist who has managed to bring their conceptual vision to bear on their formal accomplishment. He couples this with a robust and thrillingly far-reaching lexicon, the nuance as fitting as the sound, the imagery as ingeniously multilayered as the mirror maze where we encounter the devil and Samuel Beckett, the rival and the fool. This is also an unabashedly moral collection of poems, intellectually curious and broad-minded while refreshingly instructive — it cuts a swathe through a multitude of deposed grand narratives and never passes up the opportunity to dazzle, to succour or cajole.’ —Luke Kennard
‘Rain Rider is a kind of costume-drama sword fight between the forces of Art and Life, between the metaphorical and the literal, the fantastical and the mundane with a wonderful assortment of characters, landscapes, tastes, voices, vintages and weathers. Whether in the company of a latter day Dorian Gray or a small boy plotting revenge against the mob for an act of cruelty against his father, the reader has a sense of an elaborate game being played, of a system of cosmic interconnections coming apart at the seams and of anachronisms collapsing into modernity. This is a collection full of delight and intrigue.’ —Annie Freud
‘Rain Rider is thrillingly wide-ranging, a book of echoes and intricacies where you’re as likely to meet the Devil as the Fool in poem after glittering poem. Briggs has written a mirror maze of a book you could lose yourself in for a very long time indeed.’ —Jacob Polley
‘What his new book shows is that his sense of poetic vocation has sharpened to a point at which a real kind of poetry makes its way through him, being shaped and shorn with enormous skill, but possessing its own life and duende.’ —David Morley
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