Book: We Were Pedestrians

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We Were Pedestrians

Author: Gerard Woodward
Publisher: Chatto & Windus

In poems full of rooms and houses, where wily nature eludes the instinct to tame, the observing eye of an anthropologist is combined with an exuberant, daring, and endlessly playful imagination. There are houses of memory and houses of the future, houses that stand empty and houses crammed with the accumulations of life. From the clothes that house bodies to the atmosphere that clothes the universe, from the flush of a toilet to the colonization of Mars, these works look at juxtapositions of the unruly and the controlled. It is no accident that several of the poems are about coastal places or climate change. The ceaseless erosion of nature is an image of the impossibility of capture, with language the last barrier against decay and disappearance. In “Norfolk,” the pebbles on the beach, the pennies in a slot machine, and a boy’s wobbly tooth concatenate with enormous pathos as the boy’s realizes that life’s events do not match his desire.

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