Adventures in poetry
Date: 19th July 2018
Extent: 80 pp
BIC Code: DCF
Robert Peake’s second full collection of poems is about weathering storms—personal, political, psychological—in our present-day climate of chaos. These are matters of life or death, and Cyclone urges us to consider what the ill wind may bring, and how we will survive it.
Peake’s acutely tuned poems bring eloquence and urgency to matters of profound devastation. With shattering delicacy, he writes of personal loss, of grief and the long aftermath; “whenever the wind sprays into my face, I taste salt of your absence”.
These poems also hazard an eye at the global weather and find a world in turmoil, wild with unreliable news and terrible forecasts. Manifesting between the storms is the man with the kindest face. Is he here to save us or warn us? A guide or a harbinger? As these brilliantly-visioned poems suggest, nothing is certain in the eye of the storm. Nevertheless, there is some form of consolation and rescue: “He seems at home in this tempest. He seems happy”.
‘Cyclone takes the strengths of Robert Peake’s previous work - candour, intensity, a hard-won wit - and enters the storm, in search of an answer to the question raised by his heartbreaking ‘Why I Should Be Over It By Now’. Built around four remarkable sequences, this new collection takes him into the most difficult of territories - grief and parental loss - to recover the possibility, however fugitive, of healing. The ‘Cyclone’ here is both personal and political. In such turbulent and shrill times, this is his most powerful work to date.' - Michael Symmons Roberts
'Homesickness, belonging, and travelling without arriving are just some of the terrain covered in Peake's Cyclone, but it’s the vitality and emotional courage in the language of these poems that one is most struck by — language stepping in and out of the shadows and yearning ‘in the silt-choked afterlife of someone’s grief.’ A beautiful book that deserves to be lingered over and read widely.' - Mona Arshi
'Relentless and gorgeous, Cyclone is where poems of awe and of mourning the infinite “Cognates of Grief” converge, bless and roar. In its searching for “What Will Survive Us,” Robert Peake’s second collection is as tender as it is overwhelming, as intimate as it is expansive. He asks “What becomes of longing / when the fire goes out?” “Has there ever been such a thing as progress?” “How much do you need?” and answers with aftermaths, the “wild dance...between the gathering clouds and ionised land,” a braving of history and memory and home. I am deeply thankful for this book—its guts, its grace.' - R.A. Villanueva
'The Man With the Kindest Face', from Cyclone: a film-poem collaboration between Valerie Kampmeier and Robert Peake, featuring Barney Wells.
Robert Peake is an American-born poet living near London. He created the Transatlantic Poetry series, bringing poets together for live online readings and conversations. His film-poem collaborations have been widely screened in the US and Europe. He is a poetry surgery tutor for the Poetry Society in Hertfordshire, and writes for the Huffington Post. His debut The Knowledge, was published by Nine Arches Press in 2015, and his second poetry collection Cyclone is published in July 2018, also from Nine Arches Press.
Photograph credit: Valerie Kampmeier