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Enfolded in the Wings of Great Darkness



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'Enfolded in the wings of a great darkness represents a new departure in my writing. It is a single book-length poem made up of fragments and shorter pieces in varied styles that build towards the last line, which is the book's title. I have aimed at a sparse, open simplicity in this book, a clarity and brevity sufficient to carry the weight of the space I am now in, with my illnesses, my partner's cancer and the acute sense of time's limits. The poems question what it might mean to live and write in the immediate knowledge of death, what response we can find when out of the blue we, or the one we love, are told we have a very limited time, three or five years, to live. At the artistic as well as the personal level, there is also a need for balance in the work, as beauty, tenderness, the presence of the natural world, light as well as dark, insist on their place in the poem. Enfolded in the wings of a great darkness represents a new challenge for me as a poet - the quest for an intensity and clarity strong enough to let simple things resonate, creating poems that are spacious and open. More than in any previous work I have sought to unpack everyday expressions, to probe language, to understand our shared endeavour to come to terms with mortality not as any abstract truth but as it confronts us personally once it enters our life. The construction of a book-length poem of philosophic reflection has required the creation of sufficient space around each fragment to enable it to resonate fully. A poem of this length also needed the development of an energy, a larger rhythm, to carry the reader through to the end.’ Peter Boyle

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