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Poppy by Joseph Minden

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Joseph Minden's debut collection Poppy is a research trip to the battlefields of Flanders and the Somme. It is also an ill-fated visit to Penang, an echo of the Opium Wars, a tour of fragmentary family myth and a fear of familiar vampires – all grimy with the trash of establishment British history. It is a place where Adlestrop meets 'Robin Hood / bewitched by a leg of tandoori chicken5', and drunk Brits stumble around the Menin Gate with 'Lest We Forget' stitched into their polo shirts.

Sometimes accompanied by the historian, Jason, and perpetually haunted by an old flame, Mina, the protagonist of the poems tries to separate memory from nostalgia, empire from heritage. There are the personal longings shaped by old ideas he would like to escape... Minden makes disturbing rhythms out of the detritus he finds around him, using documentary evidence, prose poems, personal testimony, dream narrative and the soft hammer blows of repetition to craft a haunted, memorable music.

Carcanet Press



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