[…] who says that language is
either normal or poetical? […]
One of the many pleasures of Peter Riley’s poetry I’d say is that he takes such delight in personal, small-scale experiences, while always keeping the wider world of politics and art in mind. His latest collection is Truth, Justice and the Companionship of Owls. While I’ve never read so many poems that seem to have come from a pregnant time spent waiting for a bus on a deserted and exposed country road, these aren’t poems that simply dwell in natural description, the ‘I’ is also hoping for justice in our society, talking to the ghosts of friends and locals now gone, and remembering anything from an aspect of Ancient Greek culture to trance-y Tuareg music. He’s on the moors and in the deserts. I’m not sure if he’s a walking guide or wrong-footing me in a game. A bit of both?
Walking, we go at walking speed, and so miss
nothing, the faint squeaking in the grass, the clicking
of gorse, the burning oilfields beyond the horizon.
Longbarrow Press published this and his incredible (and beautifully produced) pamphlet The Ascent of Kinder Scout, which (like this summer’s Jeremy Deller & Jarvis Cocker art project in the Peak District, Be Kinder) is in part about remembering the Kinder Scout Mass Trespass of 1932 which led to rights for all us plebs to access more of England’s countryside.
Longbarrow currently prefer not to distribute via some of the usual suspects (suspect, you know who I mean!), but of course you can buy your copies of both books direct from Longbarrow. You can also visit Peter Riley’s website and read what he says about his new book.