The best ink stones are slates from Chinese riverbeds, but in the long history of their use these have all been found. as one expert writes, "the better the stone, the smaller and more consistent the particles will be and the denser the ink". These poems by Jamie McKendrick have a remarkable density of ink. They explore the grain, or "tooth" of the natural world with unusual and discomforting detail at the same time as they chart the medium they work in - not only what the eye sees, but the eye itself: its structure and structurings. These poems open onto conflicting perspectives of home and abroad, the domestic and the wild, the natural and the uncanny, elegy and celebration.
Jamie McKendrick was born in Liverpool in 1955. He taught at the University of Salerno in Italy and is the author of five collections of poetry: The Sirocco Room (1991); The Kiosk on the Brink (1993); The Marble Fly (1997), winner of the Forward Poetry Prize (Best Poetry Collection of the Year) and a Poetry Book Society Choice; Ink Stone (2003), which was shortlisted for the 2003 T. S. Eliot Prize and the 2003 Whitbread Poetry Award; and Crocodiles & Obelisks, shortlisted for the Forward Prize. A selection of his poems was published as Sky Nails (2000), and he is editor of 20th-Century Italian Poems (2004). His translations of the poetry of Valerio Magrelli were published by Faber in 2009.
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