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Andrew Motion's new collection (his first since Public Property in 2002) offers a ground-breaking variety of lyrics, love poems and elegies, in which private domains of feeling infer other lives and a shared humanity - exploring how people cope with threats to and in the world around them, as soldiers, lovers, artists, writers and citizens. The conversational tone and formal variety of these poems both shapes and diversifies their response to loss and its inevitabilities. Here are poems about the last surviving veteran of the trenches; poems which work with found materials drawn from the contiguous worlds of prose; poems which elicit the parallel lives glimpsed in paintings, or the other lives of birds, trees and weather (as of an ordinariness just out of reach). An unemphatic evenness of handling, in the detailing of ordinary destinies, alternates with capacious panoramas of longing and summation, and the collection ends with a remarkable group of directly autobiographical poems about the life and times of the poet's father.
Andrew Motion was appointed Poet Laureate in 1999; he is Professor of Creative Writing at Royal Holloway College, University of London, and cofounder of the online Poetry Archive. He has received numerous awards for his poetry, and has published four celebrated biographies. His group study The Lamberts won the Somerset Maugham Award and his authorised life of Philip Larkin won the Whitbread Prize for Biography. Andrew Motion has also written the novella The Invention of Dr Cake (2003) and his memoir, In the Blood (2006). Andrew Motion was knighted for his services to literature in 2009.