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Synopsis

Like the possible phantoms that stalk the dark passageways of its title poem, John Fuller's beautifully lucid collection explores the grey area between life and death. Full of self-deprecating wit and subtle insight, the poems contemplate the inevitability that, when one reaches a certain age, the moment of one's own passing will start to haunt one.

In 'Flea Market' there is the pathos of once-loved objects laid out, meaningless, 'on the cobbles for scavengers'. In 'Positions in the Bed', the restless search for a comfortable way to sleep leads to thoughts of the morning when 'we find/ Ourselves absconded from the body's/ Weary roll-call'. And yet, out of this sense of mortality, grows a determination to take delight in the moment, to appreciate fully 'the business of living'.

These poems are not only intimate, domestic and often funny, they are uncompromising in the way they confront the huge and unanswerable questions of life. The movement of thought is rendered beautifully concrete in the intricate music of their langauge, and melancholy co-exists with a lightness of touch that builds a moving and humane barricade against 'life's brevity/ And it's insignificance'.

Shortlisted for the Whitbread Award for Poetry.

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