The cover of 'Eoliths'


by Peter Rafferty

76pp Paperback Book Perfect Bound
ISBN 978-0-9540913-2-3
Published 1st June 2002

£6.95 post free in UK.

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"If, like me, you enjoy some veering originality in poetry, or are pulled to boldness in subject and structure, then Peter Rafferty's Eoliths is the book we've been waiting for. New readers will delight at the daring of the imaginative geography displayed here. Rafferty's is one of the boldest, and in my view important, departures in British poetry since the first books of Peter Didsbury or John Ash. He is also one of the funniest and most playful writers of his generation, one for whom celebration and knowledge are arenas for passion, compassion and a generous intelligence. We're lucky to have him."


"Winebottles become warlords, Apollo a wind-surfer, the Trojan horse comes steaming along the railway line. There's a Kama Sutra on the spice shelf.

Such transformations are meat and drink to Peter Rafferty in this rich cornucopia of subjects and styles. He ranges from close rhyme to free verse, from aliens to aftershave. He's not short of demons and desperation, but they're leavened with much humour and Cumbrian nous. Here too a salvo of birdsong brings a dead poet back to life, leaves shuffle in doorways, headlands ladder to faintness, and eoliths strike again: the zest in such turns of phrase is typical of the whole lively collection."


"Peter Rafferty's poetry is capable of the long perspective, open to the chilling gusts of history and geology. He is one of the few who, like Brodsky, can charge a fully contemporary voice with Classical resonance. There is more than a hint of Lucretius about him, and still more of the Epicurean tendency to seize the pleasures of the moment, as in his self-mocking request to any nude French housewives out there: 'come up and hoover sometime'. Whether poring over spices or testing the edge of an eolith, his work is filled with immediate warmth. The ancient world and the rock gods of the 1970s may be equally unrecoverable, but this is poetry that elegises them both with rueful wit and not a little melancholy: as he says of mutability, 'You didn't know the half of it, Heraclitus'. The book ranges through time from Lepanto to Telstar, as alive to the erosion of meaning in the Information age as to the damage we are inflicting on our environment, and constantly returns to the Lakes as its fragile sanctuary. As one who always checks the CD racks for 'a Zappa or Hammill', I recognise and salute a fellow keeper of the difficult flame."


Read a further review by Peter Armstrong.


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Last modified: 16 June 2008