The ranking of books at the head of reviews often irritates me. So here let’s have it easy: age before beauty! Geoffrey Lehmanns’s collection is written in a style meditative at times and ranging in subject matter only very slightly; it is most frequently an intelligent description of a family after marriage breakdown. He delineates the daily routines, the moments of clarity and the emotional isolation family separation can bring.
The first poem is rhythmic and a delight. We get his warmth and humour straight off and the deep sense of the duty of parents, more intensified when there is only one:
I have held what I hoped would become the best minds of a generation
over the gutter outside an Italian coffee shop watching the small
warm urine splatter on the asphalt …