Temporary Measures

Paul Rossiter’s previous book, Seeing Sights, which collected poems written between 1968 and 1978, was mostly set in the mountains of northern England and Scotland; Ian Brinton described it as a ‘beautifully crafted volume’, with poems that ‘bear excellent comparison’ with some of the early work of Gary Snyder. The story is continued in a more urban key in Temporary Measures, which gathers poems from 1978 to 1981. The poems are mostly set in London, with excursions westwards in England and southwards to the Dordogne region of France – and, more distantly, to Tang Dynasty China by means of versions of Du Fu and Wang Wei. Performance is a frequent theme, whether the performance of music (John Cage, Art Pepper), of dance (Merce Cunningham, a nightclub hostess), or of everyday activities (railway maintenance workers stepping over a live rail). The fourth part of the book moves further afield, responding to places and occasions in Kuwait, Egypt, Cyprus and Greece.

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