The leisure in which Brian Cox now writes his poems is hard-earned. Poetry, always his chief passion as reader and teacher, was forced to the edges of his life during the years in which he followed his other vocation in the world of education. When, shortly before his retirement in 1993, his "Collected Poems" appeared, it was clear that he had managed to write distinctive verse against the odds. His new collection has the freshness of a writer set free in a world which before contrained him. The presence of a physical universe, fulfilling all the senses, is palpable in his language; there is also an undercurrent of impassioned memory and what one critic called - in relation to this "Collected Poems" - "anticipatory elegy", the accepted knowledge of change and loss. There is an ambitious series of poems dedicated to writers and artists he admires: Saul Bellow, Chekhov, Van Gogh and Walter Benjamin.