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The Occupant
PBS Recommendation Winter 2016

£9.99

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PBS Recommendation - Winter 2016  

‘I watch you sweat,
I watch you sleep. Some far and submarine light
keeps you swimming. In the blueberry bloom
lungs loosen, the pulse is in retreat,
speech is unlearned and falls in spools
of oil-shine tape along the mineshaft floor.’


Following the success of her T. S. Eliot Prize-nominated Over and award-winning translation of the medieval Pearl, Jane Draycott returns with her fourth collection of poems, The Occupant. With a rhythmic subtlety and metrical poise that have become hallmarks of her verse, Draycott hints at the existence of a world of dreamlike clarity underneath our own. In the National Gallery a gardener cuts away the flower from a still-life canvas to replant in his own garden; in an abandoned sanatorium a grand piano dreams of the voices and music of days past, ‘rose-spotted paintwork peeling softly, half-moon fanlights rising, sinking’. At the heart of these imagined scenes the long title poem, ‘The Occupant’, draws on scenes proposed but left unwritten in Martinus Nijhoff’s Awater. In the stifling summer air, Draycott’s occupant trawls the streets of an unnamed city whose ‘dead lanes keep their silence’, where ‘the frail expire and pale dogs whimper’, as its police post notices: ‘Missing: Have you seen this wind?’