How Snow Falls, By Craig Raine
Boyd Tonkin is Literary Editor at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Social Policy Editor of the New Statesman and has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes. He has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in literature.
Saturday 22 December 2012
Although death, and its rituals, harmonises the poetry in Craig Raine's first-rate new collection, love and its pain traces a line of melody - love, like snow, "this transfiguration/ we never quite get over".
Fine elegies bookend How Snow Falls: first for the poet's mother, dying in a blizzard of diamond-sharp memories; and last for a lover, lost to Aids in 1995, restored to startling erotic life.
Erudition and allusiveness underpin hair-raising candour, comedy and a bracing economy.
This poetry hits you like a Siberian blast out of ice-blue skies.
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