‘A cul-de-sac, a dead-end track,
A sandbanked strand to sink a fleet,
A bay, a bar, a strip, a trap,
A wrecking ground, that’s Shingle Street.’
Blake Morrison’s first two collections, Dark Glasses (1984) and The Ballad of a Yorkshire Ripper (1987) established him as one of our most inventive and accomplished contemporary poets.
In his first full-length collection for nearly thirty years, Shingle Street sees a return to the form with which he started his career. Set along the Suffolk coast, the opening poems address a receding world – an eroding landscape, ‘abashed by the ocean’s passion’. But coastal life gives way to other, more dangerous, vistas: a wave unleashes a flood-tide of terror; a sequence of topical poems lays bare pressing political issues; while elsewhere portraits of the past bring forth the dear and the departed.
Ardent and elegiac, and encompassing an impressive range of mood and method, this is a timely offering from a poet of distinct talents.