Friday, November 24, 2023

Scott Thurston's TURNING ; my endorsement and a link

Sometimes a blurb for a book (I mean ‘endorsement’, don’t I?)  says little more than ‘I like this book: you will too’. Snappy, short. Quotable. Sometimes I find myself (given my history as a critic and reviewer) sketching out an essay or a review (which I then have to shave until it’s the right length). In the case of this slightly long blurb for the selected poems of Scott Thurston, I managed to write a condensed review of this excellent collection.

Thurston’s poems always danced, as the early writings here demonstrate, in line and spacing, long before dance as a practice became his poetic focus and his ethical metaphor for other modes of action and introspection. They always measured a world to be moved into, fine lines across fine distinctions. His texts become cues for performance, in performance, but just as important is the insistent voice of the poem as it becomes increasingly the voice of the poet: restless, relentless, carrying us with it. This is all for us: ‘in dancing your own rite you don’t/ do it for yourself.’ This is crystallized in the culminating triumph of the lockdown sonnet sequence, ‘A Hard Grief’; it reaches out from our shared resignation and hope. We’re all ‘searching/ for the shapes that shadowed the meaning/ until the flow showed up’, and Thurston is our invaluable lead.


I spent most of today with Scott, pleased to exchange our books, and dine in Chorlton. We chatted about the journal, dance, Salford, life, health (mine) and well-being (his), before retiring to his study to talk poetry and books. Joanna emerged from Zoom meetings, and we all drove to Liverpool, joking all the way in the failing (but bright) light. A great day.

What about looking at the interview I conducted with Scott about his writing and dancing (even the cover of the new book will not allow us to take these pages as simply for, or of, the page!), part of my guest editing of Stride a few years ago:  Guest editor Robert Sheppard: 8 | Stride magazine,

Turning may be purchased here: Scott Thurston - Turning — Selected Poems 1995-2020 (