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Howard Barker’s catastophic vision is clearly visible in the sinister twilight of his new collection of poems. His world is filled with violence, conspiracy and transgression. The perpetrators of these acts are gaolers, dictators, faceless visitors, thieves and killers, dogs and Barker’s dispassionate narrators, staring over our bodies.
We overhear of imminent danger and find ourselves witness to absurd atrocities in barely-sketched rooms. Or we may end up listening to the thoughts of Barker’s victims in flagrantly amoral vignettes and tableaux where household objects can gain a chilling significance. You can almost feel the falling temperature as you read these works, hear the footsteps ringing out, as the poet comes down the corridor to collect you.
Recognised as one of the leading playwrights
of his generation, Barker continues to explore human suffering and survival in poetry of terrifying intensity and emotional distance.
‘About as challenging as art gets without pulling weapons
on the audience.’ —The Guardian