Peter Sansom has made ‘a sort of living’ from poetry for over twenty years. His Carcanet books are ‘witty, realistic and imaginative’ – Observer, winning awards and a loyal readership, while his Writing Poems, Bloodaxe 1994, is still said to change writing lives.
Peter Sansom has been Fellow in Poetry at both Leeds and Manchester Universities, and company poet for M&S and the Prudential. He is a director with Ann Sansom of The Poetry Business in Sheffield, where they edit The North magazine and Smith/Doorstop Books.
He is responsible or the latest in the series of Rialto Bridge Pamphlets, designed to cross the gap between magazine and book publication for new writers or, for established writers, that between collections. Twenty-one poems by a master craftsman.
The Rialto magazine is following Acumen’s example, designing its new Bridge series to “cross the gap between magazine and book publication”. Peter Sansom’s The Night is Young is lovely to look at and to handle, larger in format, allowing plenty of open space. Sansom has perfected the conversational (rather than the conversation) poem, a rueful wit carbonating the lyrical flow, just as his “Pop Bottle” does, sitting on the opposite page to “River”: “I love to paddle back / forty years, more, in the hurry-shallows / among the pebbles . . .”. Youth is, in all senses, his capital: school, warehouse work, best friends, the moon landing. Desolate landscapes appeal to him (Antarctica, the Cairngorms, a station buffet, an abandoned corner of Sheffield), and the favoured mode is a troubled pastoral: “It’s a kind of trespass, I know, thinking this, / because I can walk on and unthink it, which I do, / among the identical miles of trees, the mountains seen now / from a bend in the road, their lunar tracks and tarns, / the bivouacs of bright surviving snow”.
Times Literary Supplement
You can buy The Rialto’s The Night is Young by Peter Sansom here