A Bright Acoustic by Philip Gross
In these restlessly exploratory poems and sequences, the space between things is never empty, but alive with messages. Utterly physical even when it is at its most enquiring, Philip Gross’s latest collection contemplates space and sound. Even silence reveals itself as multiple and individual. With each book in his ambitious series since The Water Table, winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize, Gross has taken a new step in mapping where we live, in between language and the world. A Bright Acoustic looks at and way beyond the human, to a generously environmental view of the self in its relationships, at the same time playful and profound.
‘At the heart of all of Gross's collections has been his deep enquiry into and fascination with the nature of embodiment and existence – what water is and does in The Water Table, the role of language, and speech especially, in identity and the self in Deep Field and Later. Now in Love Songs of Carbon Gross tests and feels his amazed way through the mysteries of the multiple manifestations of love and ageing... Such exactitude of feeling and image is typical of all Gross's work, and no less inventively in this new collection. Characteristic too is his focused, sustained approach across the whole book: Love Songs of Carbon asks to be read as a song-book, to use the terms of its presentation, curated for the reader to turn and return to. From poem to poem, pace and metrics quicken and still and quicken again as the book progresses.’ – John Burnside & Jane Draycott, PBS Bulletin
'Love Songs of Carbon... combines a kind of ecological serenity with the poet's continuing close-up fascination with physical matter. In it, geological time, the phases of tides, human and non-human life spans, the breakdown and recycling of ships and fruit and memory are all dimensions of the same, present moment. These poems don't challenge us to shift perspective, but to hold all perspectives in mind at once.’ – Kate Bingham, Poetry Review
‘Love Songs of Carbon is remarkable for many reasons, but perhaps most of all for its simplicity. The poems are written as if something has shaken loose, come clear at last to the narrator, and this clarity lends a sharp insightfulness to poems that span the distance between the very personal and the quite literally universal.’ – Ashley Owen, New Welsh Review