Reviews of this book:
Gray's beautifully designed volume of poems collects verses originally written
between 1952 and 1983. In the blurb to the book Gray states that they deal with
"modern states of love, faith, language". He also writes:
are negative because they describe love mainly by its absences and reverses.
The poems are a
varied lot (as is to be expected, considering that they span some 30 years), with
Gray experimenting stylistically and formally. As in his stories and novels, Gray
is adept at setting a small scene or describing an incident succinctly. In these
poems he generally strays farther from the sober, straightforward narrative style
of much of his prose, willing to indulge and experiment more.
means that there is always something new, readily holding one's interest to see
what Gray will do next. What is perhaps lacking is a cohesiveness to the collection.
There are some remarkable pieces here, and only a few that are too artificial
and/or strained. Gray has a fine ear for language, as he has shown in his radio
and theatre plays and his fiction. The poetry can stand on its own as well; it
is only unfortunate that there is so little, leaving it standing a bit forlornly
beside the rest of work.
More richly illustrated (with Gray's own work) than
most of his other books [Old
Negatives] is a
beautiful volume, regardless of its content. An aesthetic pleasure to hold and
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