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Michael Vince taught in Italy and the UK
before emigrating to Greece in 1977. He
worked in language teaching. He has
published poetry since the 1960s in numerous
magazines, and collections include: The
Orchard Well, Carcanet 1978; Mountain, Epic
and Dream, Hunting Raven 1981; In The New
District, Carcanet 1982; Gaining Definition, R L
Barth 1986; Plain Text, Mica Press 2015, Long
Distance, Mica Press 2020, and A Conversation
with George Seferis, Rack Press 2022.
Back to Life
The idea of things coming back to life runs through all three parts of this
collection. The first section explores the contemporary world of the
pandemic lockdown period through interpretations of experiences, many
of them limited to photographs and video, others stimulated by reading.
This section ends with the return to life of the neighbourhood.
The second section is a further exploration of neighbourhood, with poems
which bring back to life people and places, known and lesser known, from
the Greenwich area where the poet lives. Some are only street names,
others, names lost and often hard to recover. The poems seek to locate
different aspects of life in one place, and to make more sense of belonging
to that place by a willed recovery of its past.
The final section holds poems written during the author's decade-and-ahalf
spent in Greece, bringing back aspects of this past life, with its
personal, political and historical themes.
...most impressive is the sheer ease with which the poetry moves from point to point,
from a brief intimate vignette like that of the reader by the lamp to the cosmic vistas
of the end. This reflects Vince’s syntactical mastery and depends on another quality too,
a trust in his readers to follow implications at their own pace, picking up, for example,
the rich hints for reflection in the phrase ‘shaped into desire’, which can be taken in
so many directions and responded to in such very different ways.
... he excels at recouping lost memory…
… The troubling idea that the past never disappears, only fades, recurs in
Vince's elegant poems of personal reflection.
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