A book about bodies, dead and living, real and imagined, earthbound and resurrected
CORPUS – Michael Symmons Roberts' ambitious and inventive fourth collection – centres around the body. Mystical, philosophical and erotic, the bodies in these poems move between different worlds – life and after-life, death and resurrection – encountering pathologists' blades, geneticists' maps and the wounds of love and war.Equally at ease with scripture (Jacob wrestling the Angel in CHOREOGRAPHY) and science (MAPPING THE GENOME), these poems are a thrilling blend of modern and ancient wisdom, a profound and lyrical exploration of the mysteries of the body:So the martyrs took the lamb.It tasted rich, steeped in essenceOf anchovy. They picked it clean And found within, a goose, its pink Beak in the lamb's mouth like a tongue. Ranging effortlessly between the physical extremes of death – from putrefaction to purification – and life – drought and flood, hunger and satiation – the poems in Corpus speak most movingly of'living the half-life between two elements', of what it is to be unique and luminously alive.
Praise for Corpus
Michael Symmons Roberts is a religious poet, though not in the sense of brandishing doctrinal certainties; he reflects on the world in a way that is informed by a sense of grace, of transcendence, but the pieces are grounded in detail, beautifully expressed, subtly luminous.Robert Potts, Guardian
Gorgeously meditative.Christina Patterson, Independent