Screeds is an extended sequence which tracks a mediated life-passage, a narrative of failed and surviving love which is elegantly enmeshed in philosophical discoveries, abstract history and something called “America”, a kind of demanding governess who is very difficult to put up with. The poems are almost placeless, moving directly from experience into a poetical over-language, in a central tradition on which he has a firm grip. The techniques are those of someone who knows exactly what he wants from modern poetry, as a vehicle for dense self-questioning thought, but also linguistic escapades and meditative spaces some of which are a model of assurance and calm in the writing, ever prepared to transgress rational expectation:
It is two o’clock in the city
sirens are silent
windows open the first time in months
a mockingbird tests the air after rain
(full moon, high clouds)
shakes out his rusty songbook
on the edge of spring.
Thirty-seven songs in the heavy air.
The Fortnightly Review