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Long Distance, Michael Vince Paperback, 78 pp. ISBN 978-1-869848-25-5. £8.99. 29 Oct 2020.

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Video of Michael Vince reading from Long Distance

The poems in Long Distance combine ideas of the sense of distance which exists between past and present, between separate lives in geographically separate places, and between people in relationships. People may live in different places but be linked together or live in the same place and be parted by their feelings or their experience. The main settings are a London suburb and contemporary Greece, but also include the New Forest and Anglo-Saxon England. The section ‘Camberwell’ concentrates on the suburb, and a variety of ways in which connecting with the past can make such a place a home, by re-imagining people and events which exist as recoverable sub-strata. Other poems broaden these themes. A set of love poems, ‘Long Distance’, is placed in a real contemporary world, but one woven with threads of myth and their presence in personal relationships. ‘Bookland’, another group of poems, explores the continuing meaning created by events, objects or places. Finally, the complexity of the various themes is contrasted in ‘The Ordinary’ by simple everyday experiences. In our new condition of ‘social distancing’ these poems explore ways in which we are more connected than we might imagine, to the past, to the imagined present, and to other versions of life.

"Michael Vince’s entrancing new collection bridges past and present, the remote and the immediate. Yet remoteness is made present through his gripping, even startling scenes, the accessibility of his language, the control of formal elements, and the reworking of pastoral tradition.

It’s impossible not to be stirred by his assessment of ‘ease on the edge of ordinariness / where it touches the matters of the soul, the mystery / of our coming and going’. This mystery is at the heart of this seasoned poet’s pensive and subtle collection."
                     - Kevin Gardner

“Vince’s poems are filled with lovely resonant images …. [his] eye for telling detail brings that world alive ….

Vince’s music is quiet and unassertive, yet always real, its rhythms constrained and buoying the lines....”

                   – Ian Pople, reviewing Michael Vince's previous collection, Plain Text, (Mica Press, 2015) in The North.


Interested in History as well as Poetry? See this publisher's other imprint, Campanula Books