Neil Powell

Proof of Identity

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Neil Powell's seventh Carcanet collection explores the deep roots of identity: family histories we inherit, memories we carry, the casual decisions and wrong turnings that add up to make us who we are. At the heart of the book is a compelling narrative based on a journal kept by the poet's grandmother of her life in South Africa: a feckless husband, a 483-mile trek with horse and covered wagon, violence and poverty. There's also a shorter, teasingly fictional narrative and a sequence about the life of a grand piano. Other poems deal with childhood, leaving home and first love; a park in Kent and a wood in Suffolk; an old photograph of the Strand and Louis Armstrong's first solo; the London bombers of 2005; and, finally, two old friends recalled in very different elegies. Meditative, wry, melancholy and celebratory, this is Neil Powell at his most versatile and memorable.
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53 printed pages
Original publication
2012

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