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Hill of Doors by Robin Robertson

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Charged with strangeness and beauty, Hill of Doors is a haunted and haunting book, where each successive poem seems a shape conjured from the shadows, and where the uncanny is made physically present. The collection sees the return of some familiar members of the Robertson company, including Strindberg – heading, as usual, towards calamity – and the shape-shifter Dionysus. Four loose retellings of stories of the Greek god form pillars for the book, alongside four short Ovid versions. Threaded through these are a series of pieces about the poet’s childhood on the north-east coast, his fascination with the sea and the islands of Scotland. However, the reader will also discover a distinct new note in Robertson’s austere but ravishing poetry: towards the possibility of contentment – a house, a door, a key – finding, at last, a ‘happiness of the hand and heart’. Magisterial in its command and range, indelibly moving and memorable in its speech, Hill of Doors is Robin Robertson’s most powerful book to date.

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