Flying School by Robert Saxton
Flying School is a book of beautifully crafted poems about the contrivances by which we attempt to enrich or repair our lives. One dominant image is flight and, more specifically, parachutes – reflecting an aspiration to come to terms with our hardest challenges, including the reality of death. The book ends with a series of heartbreaking elegies for the poet’s father, unflinching in their grief-stricken gaze.
In this highly various collection, plain-spoken storytelling jostles against more oblique or lyrical voices, while sonnets, sestinas, villanelles and ‘triplets’ (mixing traditional and consonantal rhyme) offer the pleasures of accomplished form. The common factor is a vividly observed aliveness, often inflected with wit. Saxton has conjured a teeming imaginative world that never fails to convince, entertain or move.