The two searching sequences that bookend this collection are not so much elegies as unfinished conversations with friends no longer living – friendships lost or neglected, with their closeness and distances sensitively mapped. This is Philip Gross’s writing at its most hospitable, lit up by a sense of personal address, both tactful and deeply engaged. The sea that is always in sight, between us and beyond us, is more than a metaphor. It is another conversation – with the real sea of this planet, used and abused and in need of our care.
‘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
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).