Tuesday, May 21, 2013

News at Eleven: [Matthew] Francis's Marvell is less interested

in diplomacy than colours and textures, food and furs ("you must cosset the person/in marten, sable, fox or beaver, and sleep/shivering on sheepskin in the furry dark"). As in the Arctic poems of Lavinia Greenlaw's Minsk, the northern latitudes come trailing an icy mystique: "The cold finds you in your sleep. You flee from it/the way one does in dreams, not touching the ground,/across a flatness that is always the same." Marvell is a ghostlike presence in the poem, tasked with writing his companions' way in and out of the tsar's distant, frozen embassy.

from The Guardian: Muscovy by Matthew Francis--review


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