In Parts of Us, Thomas Shapcott demonstrates why he remains one of the country’s leading poets.

Listen. The night is dark
though it’s amazing how much light
pretends otherwise – the stars
could be hidden by clouds but this
street and advertisement message
hoodwinks us into believing
our fate is otherwise.
We are alone.

Parts of Us holds in balance a quiet maturity with a vital energy. Ranging from sonnet sequences to long lyrical meditations, dramatic monologues to more confessional works, these poems are imbued with verve, curiosity and elegant inquiry.

The collection is marked by an almost self-elegiac strain, an unflinching imagining of one’s own death, and a sense too of love fading, which serves as a brave and powerful corrective to the idealisation of some love poetry written by men about women.

In light of these themes, the lively ‘Adelaide Lunch Sonnets’ acquire additional weight and resonance. These poems are as sensual as figs that, soft as flesh, burst ‘to reveal that secret place where taste is lost in all the rich darkness of their heart’.

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