the friend online
02 February 2007


The pulse of truth - preview

Stevie Krayer explores the new collection of poetry by Philip Gross

The Egg of Zero (poems) by Philip Gross (Bloodaxe 2006) ISBN 1-85224-726-6 £7
  • 95

    At first encounter, this electrifying collection looks a bit off-putting
  • The lead-grey cover is adorned only by uneven lettering and a bald geodesic cranium bristling with antennae
  • Even the title is dauntingly cryptic – yet if you imagine what a zero looks like on the page, you at once get a glimpse of Gross's characteristic playfulness

  • Still, this is not an easy read, for all that the language is Quaker-plain and the images homely (a storm front on the horizon looks like a bench plane; chalk becomes 'shell-scurf')
  • You need to grapple with the poems for a while in order to reap their many rewards
  • Those apparently workaday metaphors are always fresh, unexpected and spine-tinglingly apt

  • Stevie Krayer

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