Edgelands, By Paul Farley & Michael Symmons Roberts


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Two poets, brought up on the hazy borders of messy conurbations (Manchester and Liverpool); a multitude of ragged, straggling, low-status sites, from landfill dumps and scrapyards to motorway verges and the frayed hem of retail parks; and one mission: to seek out and celebrate the "edgelands" that fringe our cities, and occupy far more of our actual gaze and time than the "real" countryside of the postcard and the property show.

Written in a delectable prose that scatters flashes of poetry over a sardonic undertow of social comment, Edgelands is a grumpy, deadpan, lyrical triumph. On Britain's grotty margins, the duo trace "desire paths" to find beauty and mystery in the rough darkness on the edge of town.