The finest book yet from one of Britain's most important young poets.
Lucid, tender, and strangely troubling, the poems in THE ASYLUM DANCE-John Burnsides's seventh collection - are hymns to the tension between the sanctuary of home and the lure of escape. This is territory that Burnside has made his own; a domestic world threaded through with myth and longing, beyond which lies a no man's land - the somewhere in between of dusk or dawn, of mists or sudden light, where the epiphanies are. Using the framework of four long peoms, 'Ports', settlements, Fields and Roads, the poet balances presence with absence, we are shown the homing instinct - felt in the blood and marrow - as a pull to refuge, simplicity and a safe haven, while at the same time hearing the siren call from the world beyond the thrilling expectancy of fairground or a dancehall, the possibilities of the open road. With a confident open line and command of the language, John Burnside writes with grace, agility and profound philosophical purpose, confirming his position in the front rank of contemporary poetry.
“Burnside's poems have the rare power to alter one's perception of the world and of language - a sensory delight with an epiphany on every page.”
Judges of the Whitbread Poetry Award