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The Long Distance by Michael Vince

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The poems in Long Distance combine ideas of the sense of distance which exists between past and present, between separate lives in geographically separate places, and between people in relationships. People may live in different places but be linked together or live in the same place and be parted by their feelings or their experience. The main settings are a London suburb and contemporary Greece, but also include the New Forest and Anglo-Saxon England. The section ‘Camberwell’ concentrates on the suburb, and a variety of ways in which connecting with the past can make such a place a home, by re-imagining people and events which exist as recoverable sub-strata. Other poems broaden these themes. A set of love poems, ‘Long Distance’, is placed in a real contemporary world, but one woven with threads of myth and their presence in personal relationships. ‘Bookland’, another group of poems, explores the continuing meaning created by events, objects or places. Finally, the complexity of the various themes is contrasted in ‘The Ordinary’ by simple everyday experiences. In our new condition of ‘social distancing’ these poems explore ways in which we are more connected than we might imagine, to the past, to the imagined present, and to other versions of life.

“Vince’s poems are filled with lovely resonant images …. [his] eye for telling detail brings that world alive ….

Vince’s music is quiet and unassertive, yet always real, its rhythms constrained but buoying the lines....”

– Ian Pople,
review of Plain Text, (Mica Press, 2015) in The North.

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