Bookseller Information

ISBN
9781844714919
Extent
80pp
Format
Hardback
Publication Date
10-Feb-09
Publication Status
Out of print
Series
Salt Modern Poets
Subject
Poetry by individual poets
Trim Size
216 x 140mm

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The Ambulance Box

Synopsis

Shortlisted for The Seamus Heaney Centre Prize and The Aldeburgh First Collection Prize The Ambulance Box heralds the arrival of a strong and passionate new voice. Striking a fine balance between thought and feeling, Andrew Philip’s poetry is by turns lyrical, allusive and direct; subtly experimental and unafraid of traditional form. Above all, it is intense, tender, inquisitive writing, alive to the wonder as well as the hurt of the world we inhabit.

At the heart of this book – dedicated to Philip’s first child, who died shortly after birth – is a deeply moving exploration of loss and discovery. In poems of unsentimental and unsettling beauty, The Ambulance Box examines the sudden transformations of grief.

Nonetheless, this is a wide-ranging volume and not without a sense of playfulness. A central sequence of poems, written to accompany an exhibition by award-winning Scottish painter David Martin, recasts John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” as a contemporary journey through faith and doubt, certainty and ambiguity. Environmental concerns are wrapped up in a mathematical meditation or a tribute to the music of Olivier Messiaen. The great German poet Rainer Maria Rilke is claimed for Philip’s home nation in several fine Scots translations, including the stunning “Orpheus. Eurydice. Hermes.”

This is poetry that will draw you back with its music, its mystery and its power.

The Ambulance Box heralds the arrival of a strong and passionate new voice. Striking a fine balance between thought and feeling, Andrew Philip’s poetry is by turns lyrical, allusive and direct; subtly experimental and unafraid of traditional form. Above all, it is intense, tender, inquisitive writing, alive to the wonder as well as the hurt of the world we inhabit.

At the heart of this book – dedicated to Philip’s first child, who died shortly after birth – is a deeply moving exploration of loss and discovery. In poems of unsentimental and unsettling beauty, The Ambulance Box examines the sudden transformations of grief.

Nonetheless, this is a wide-ranging volume and not without a sense of playfulness. A central sequence of poems, written to accompany an exhibition by award-winning Scottish painter David Martin, recasts John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” as a contemporary journey through faith and doubt, certainty and ambiguity. Environmental concerns are wrapped up in a mathematical meditation or a tribute to the music of Olivier Messiaen. The great German poet Rainer Maria Rilke is claimed for Philip’s home nation in several fine Scots translations, including the stunning “Orpheus. Eurydice. Hermes.”

This is poetry that will draw you back with its music, its mystery and its power.

Praise for this Book

The Ambulance Box is a timely reminder of the range and power of the lyric – from philosophical exploration to tender and intimate elegies. This is a powerful debut, and Andrew Philip's is a significant new voice.’ —Michael Symmons Roberts

‘For the past ten years or so there has been something ominously like a lull in the publishing of Scottish poetry, in terms of new names if not new writing. To be sure, the passing of a great older generation and the bedding in of that very diverse generation who appeared in the nineties had to be processed (then there was the small matter of the Parliament). But our wait had reached the toe-tapping, watch-checking stage, and it's a relief to say it's over. Andrew Philip is part of a significant group of younger poets who have digested both the grandeur and the diversity and are producing their own calm additions to the practice. His work balances English, Scots, tragedy and translation, grim reckonings and light-footed catalogues. There is a redemptive, almost light-drenched cast to his contemplation of the fragility of the human body and the mind's institutions, and the very different constitution of the spirit. This is poetry which achieves its ambitions nimbly and without fuss, disdaining the rhetoric of self-aggrandisement or self-pity. It depicts kenosis as though it were the most direct way for a poem to proceed, and the most necessary goal for anyone, never mind the poet, to achieve. In doing so it talks, quietly but urgently, to us all.’ —W.N. Herbert

‘Writing in both English and Scots, Andrew Philip produces a poetry of spiritual questing syntax, in which everyday speech and vision are tinged with colours and accents of the extraordinary: it is rare to encounter a voice of this kind in which a burnished clarity of utterance seems the only conceivable response to life experienced as a profound yet daily miracle.’ —David Kinloch

‘‘This dove is here for the duration.’ With precision and delicacy, Andrew Philip explores what it means to live by faith in a ruptured world.’ —Lorraine Marriner

The Ambulance Box is a timely reminder of the range and power of the lyric – from philosophical exploration to tender and intimate elegies. This is a powerful debut, and Andrew Philip's is a significant new voice.’ —Michael Symmons Roberts

‘For the past ten years or so there has been something ominously like a lull in the publishing of Scottish poetry, in terms of new names if not new writing. To be sure, the passing of a great older generation and the bedding in of that very diverse generation who appeared in the nineties had to be processed (then there was the small matter of the Parliament). But our wait had reached the toe-tapping, watch-checking stage, and it's a relief to say it's over. Andrew Philip is part of a significant group of younger poets who have digested both the grandeur and the diversity and are producing their own calm additions to the practice. His work balances English, Scots, tragedy and translation, grim reckonings and light-footed catalogues. There is a redemptive, almost light-drenched cast to his contemplation of the fragility of the human body and the mind's institutions, and the very different constitution of the spirit. This is poetry which achieves its ambitions nimbly and without fuss, disdaining the rhetoric of self-aggrandisement or self-pity. It depicts kenosis as though it were the most direct way for a poem to proceed, and the most necessary goal for anyone, never mind the poet, to achieve. In doing so it talks, quietly but urgently, to us all.’ —W.N. Herbert

‘Writing in both English and Scots, Andrew Philip produces a poetry of spiritual questing syntax, in which everyday speech and vision are tinged with colours and accents of the extraordinary: it is rare to encounter a voice of this kind in which a burnished clarity of utterance seems the only conceivable response to life experienced as a profound yet daily miracle.’ —David Kinloch

‘‘This dove is here for the duration.’ With precision and delicacy, Andrew Philip explores what it means to live by faith in a ruptured world.’ —Lorraine Marriner

Reviews of this Book

‘Already the book is attracting attention from leading Scottish poets, with one describing Andrew as “part of a significant group of younger poets who have digested the grandeur and diversity of the preceding generations of Scottish poets”.’ —Linlithgow Gazette

‘Already the book is attracting attention from leading Scottish poets, with one describing Andrew as “part of a significant group of younger poets who have digested the grandeur and diversity of the preceding generations of Scottish poets”.’ —Linlithgow Gazette





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