Interlocutors of Paradise

Martin Anderson

 

Interlocutors of Paradise is a collection of five short meditations on colonialism and the Western mind by a British poet. Written as a series of provocative, symbolist-tinged prose-poems, each section situates the reader in beautifully crafted spaces, hollows to be filled either by spiritual purpose or wilful invasion.  It begins by evoking the historical formation and expression of national identity – an identity predicated on past colonial and imperial activities. This is followed by three meditations that are largely situated within that region of the Thames estuary where Joseph Conrad lived, set and conceived Heart of Darkness. The Thames, that river in the book on which floated “The dreams of men, the seed of commonwealths, the germs of empire”, figures prominently also in the book’s opening meditation, where it is the setting of, amongst other things, Edmund Spenser’s poem Prothalamion and his friend Sir Walter Raleigh’s departure and voyage to Roanoke in the New World. In the final meditation its presence fades giving way, instead, to the aspirant spaces of a settled New World. But a world not ‘settled’ enough to have eradicated restlessness.

 

Martin Anderson, author of various books of poetry, including The Ash Circle and Belonging, delivers another collection of poignant but elegantly powerful and sensitive poems.

 

“Great purity and acuity, and a perfect ear. A wonderful poet.”

— Gustaf Sobin

 

“Beautiful writing — treasure trove of emanations: orchards, hedgerows, meadows, coastlines, a land I used to know and still love in the nerves. A stilling for the nerves. The texture thick with an ancient country's history now learning to trace back, through all its exploitations, the sources of an elegy for lost empire. Has English poetry made the best out of that drawn-out loss?”

— Nathaniel Tarn

Essex born poet Martin Anderson led the nomadic life of an adventurous expat before returning to his native land and settling in London, and then Sussex. He spent many years travelling, living and teaching in the Far East and still regularly visits the University of the Philippines, Diliman, as a professorial lecturer to offer courses in creative writing, modernism and modern British poetry. His work was first published in the 1980s by Shearsman books and due to his various wanderings has since appeared in US presses and other publishers around the world.  A diverse collection of poetry includes The Kneeling Room, The Ash Circle, two separate editions of The Hoplite Journals, Belonging, and Snow – his Selected Poems from 1981 to 2011.