John Burnside's seventh poetry collection, The Asylum Dance, won the Whitbread Poetry Award and was shortlisted for both the Forward and the T.S. Eliot Prize. Lucid, tender, and strangely troubling, the poems in The Asylum Dance are hymns to the tension between the sanctuary of home and the lure of escape. This is territory that Burnside has made his own; a domestic world threaded through with myth and longing, beyond which lies a no man's land - the somewhere in between of dusk or dawn, of mists or sudden light, where the epiphanies are. Using the framework of four long poems, 'Ports', 'Settlements', 'Fields' and 'Roads', the poet balances presence with absence; we are shown the homing instinct - felt in the blood and marrow - as a pull to refuge, simplicity and a safe haven, while at the same time hearing the siren call from the world beyond the thrilling expectancy of fairground or a dancehall, the possibilities of the open road. With a confident open line and command of the language, John Burnside writes with grace, agility and profound philosophical purpose, confirming his position in the front rank of contemporary poetry.