Winner of the Roland Mathias Poetry Award (Wales Book of the Year 2016)
Poetry Book Society Recommendation
Love Songs of Carbon is Philip Gross’s 18th book of poetry, and is a coming of age – inhabiting the ageing body with a confident, inventive curiosity. At the same time searching, tender, intellectually agile, unexpected and erotic, this is poetry at home with great shifts of perspective, from the outer edge of science to the sensations at our fingertips. These are love poems, both to the person and to the body itself, even as – especially as – it faces entropy and decay.
‘At the heart of all of Gross's collections has been his deep enquiry into and fascination with the nature of embodiment and existence – what water is and does in The Water Table, the role of language, and speech especially, in identity and the self in Deep Field and Later. Now in Love Songs of Carbon Gross tests and feels his amazed way through the mysteries of the multiple manifestations of love and ageing... Such exactitude of feeling and image is typical of all Gross's work, and no less inventively in this new collection. Characteristic too is his focused, sustained approach across the whole book: Love Songs of Carbon asks to be read as a song-book, to use the terms of its presentation, curated for the reader to turn and return to. From poem to poem, pace and metrics quicken and still and quicken again as the book progresses.’ – John Burnside & Jane Draycott, PBS Bulletin
'Love Songs of Carbon... combines a kind of ecological serenity with the poet's continuing close-up fascination with physical matter. In it, geological time, the phases of tides, human and non-human life spans, the breakdown and recycling of ships and fruit and memory are all dimensions of the same, present moment. These poems don't challenge us to shift perspective, but to hold all perspectives in mind at once.’ – Kate Bingham, Poetry Review
‘Love Songs of Carbon is remarkable for many reasons, but perhaps most of all for its simplicity. The poems are written as if something has shaken loose, come clear at last to the narrator, and this clarity lends a sharp insightfulness to poems that span the distance between the very personal and the quite literally universal.’ – Ashley Owen, New Welsh Review
Philip Gross reads from The Water Table
Philip Gross reads two poems from his T.S. Eliot Prize-winning collection The Water Table, 'Sluice Angel' and 'Atlantis World'. This is an extract from a longer film by Pamela Robertson-Pearce of Philip Gross reading his work included in the DVD-anthology, In Person: World Poets (Bloodaxe Books, 2017). He was filmed at home in Penarth, South Wales, in July 2009.
Philip Gross reads from The Wasting Game
Philip Gross reads his sequence The Wasting Game, his fatherly response to his daughter’s anorexia. Another poem from the same book, ‘Imago’, is included at the end, acting as a kind of postscript. Pamela Robertson-Pearce filmed him reading his poems in July 2009 at his home in Penarth. This part of that film session is included in the DVD-anthology, In Person: World Poets (Bloodaxe Books, 2017). First published in 1998, The Wasting Game is included in Philip Gross’s Changes of Address: Poems 1980-1998 (Bloodaxe Books, 2001).