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How Snow Falls, By Craig Raine


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.