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Few first collections in recent years have made the impact of Kate Clanchy’s award-winning Slattern, which gained her a reputation as a poet of great immediacy and wit. In this new book her range is extended dramatically. Samarkand is both a darker and a more sunlit collection than its predecessor. Inside, the reader will find surreal elegies; love poems of every humour; grim episodes from colonial history and meditations on home and distance as well as some practical advice on having sex with angels – all delivered with the effortless musicality of phrase and formal panache that are fast becoming Clanchy’s trademarks.

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