All Peter Didsbury’s books have had wildly enthusiastic reviews. The Classical Farm won him a Cholmondeley Award, and his last two collections were Poetry Book Society Recommendations. Despite working away from the literary limelight as an archaeologist, this ‘secular mystic with the lugubrious tongue’ (Independent on Sunday) has attracted a dedicated readership: the TLS called him the best new poet published by Bloodaxe.
Didsbury’s staggering powers of invention, outrageous ﬂouting of convention and subversive humour are now fully and flagrantly displayed in Scenes from a Long Sleep. This startling volume is a feast of imaginative wonders which will win him even more new readers.
‘Didsbury’s is the kind of work which makes you realise what you’ve been putting up with in the meantime. The product of a large and peculiar imagination, it shows a sense of adventure hardly to be paralleled in contemporary poetry…In Didsbury’s work there is glimpsed an alternative history where Catholic Europe and the East are strangely mixed, where matters of faith and damnation are still alive…its power to delight, terrify and enlighten comes from a way of seeing for which most contemporary categories are meaningless’ – Sean O’Brien, London Magazine
‘Some of his invention is pure play, some hints at a rich, humane vision of England which yields a kind of surrealism all of its own: estuaries, farms, country estates, city streets and bedsits, a kind of tatty or compromised pastoral are detectable in Didsbury’s oblique, desperate celebrations.’ – Alan Jenkins, Observer
‘With his unique way of seeing, Peter Didsbury is still one of the wisest, if also one of the most eccentric and unpredictable, of English poetic holymen’ – Ian Sansom, Times Literary Supplement<
Peter Didsbury: Scenes from a Long Sleep
Peter Didsbury reads a selection of poems from his retrospective, Scenes from a Long Sleep: New & Collected Poems (2003). The poems he reads here are: ‘In Britain’, ‘The Drainage’, ‘A Priest in the Sabbath Dawn Addresses His Somnolent Mistress’, ‘A Winter’s Fancy’, ‘A Malediction’ and ‘A Bee’. Neil Astley filmed Peter Didsbury reading his poems at his home in Hull in November 2010. This film is from the DVD-anthology In Person: World Poets, filmed and edited by Pamela Robertson-Pearce and Neil Astley (Bloodaxe Books, 2017).