book cover of From the Neanderthal

From the Neanderthal

(1999)
A collection of poems by

 
 
Adam Thorpe's third collection of poetry appears after a hiatus of nine years, during which he published three highly regarded novels, including Ulverton in 1992. His return to verse announces its intentions from the title itself: From the Neanderthal registers Thorpe's insistence on the pervasiveness of history, not felt as an oppressive weight but as an almost living presence, intimately entwined with the world of perception and awaiting only some trigger to re-emerge into consciousness.

"I finger our stone wall, searching/as ever for resonance,/ time's contusions..." ("Errata"): and resonance is perhaps the key word here, indicating a poetic sensibility in which a precise clarity of perception finds itself responding to personal memory and to voices and images of the past, of history, of archaeology, in a shifting, mutable dialogue. Such an archaeological apprehension at its best provides a laminar flow to the poems, layers of time sliding over each other, turbulent exchanges at the interfaces.

The resulting complexities are held and balanced within terse, tightly controlled forms--a check against the spillage of memory. "In the blank space between words/ a bird flies..."--thus begins the title poem, and the feeling is less that of Mallarme's blank spaces (as the place where poetry happens), but rather of poetry as taking its place alongside the elements of a life lived in all its variety. Hence Thorpe recognises the impossibility of stasis, however appealing: the desire "to keep my place/in the book of my life, forever, now, here" is succeeded by the admission of impelled change and flux. Life, and the attendant dimensions of memory and the past, continue on through their momentary conjunctions of meaning. --Burhan Tufail



Used availability for Adam Thorpe's From the Neanderthal

Paperback Editions

April 2010 : UK Paperback
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Title: From The Neanderthal
Author(s): Adam Thorpe
ISBN: 0-224-09088-7 / 978-0-224-09088-9 (UK edition)
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon AU   


July 1999 : UK Paperback
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Title: From The Neanderthal (Cape Poetry)
Author(s): Adam Thorpe
ISBN: 0-224-03971-7 / 978-0-224-03971-0 (UK edition)
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   


Kindle Editions

November 2011 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition
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Title: From The Neanderthal
Author(s): Adam Thorpe
Publisher: Vintage Digital
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA