Beautiful, disturbing and a pleasure to read, Ruth Padel's new poems are her most ambitious yet, adding animal legend and zoological science to her glitteringly imaginative canvas. With her gift for bringing together experiences and tones of voice that normally stay far apart, she sweeps us from Dulwich Pizza Hut to ancient Siberia, King's Cross to nineteenth-century Burma. We meet Socrates, urban foxes, Louisiana alligators and the endangered Amur leopard in poems resonating with sensuous delight in nature, but also with history and loss.
Finally, a Chinese painter searches for tigers in a forest doomed to the sawmill while the minister who sold it scoffs an aphrodisiac bowl of tiger-penis soup.
Hallucinatory and lyrical, passionately musical, seething with life, The Soho Leopard explores our human need for wildness- and also for stories, wherever we find them. A wonderfully ferocious new collection from one of our most exciting poets.