Shortlist year: 
2021
Shortlist category: 
Poetry
Published by: 
Black Pepper

About the book

The Strangest Place, New and Selected Poems by Stephen Edgar.

They have their stratagems too, though they can't move.
They know their part.
Like invalids long reconciled.
To stillness, they do their work through others.
They have turned the world.
To their own account by the twisting of hearts.

The strangest place, this world of fact and figment we astonishingly find ourselves inhabiting, is the territory that Stephen Edgar's poetry has been probing and framing for over four decades now, looking out on the evanescent representations of light and inwards on the mind and 'the gyre of its own consciousness', feeling 'toward the labyrinth just behind Creation's serene surface', as Alan Gould described it, and 'trying to keep faith poetically with that strangeness of the world', in the words of Peter Steele.

'The Strangest Place' offers a retrospective on Edgar's career, with selections from each of his previous ten books. Opening the collection is a book-length section of new poems, 'Background Noise', which continues and extends the range of his meditations, with characteristic technical mastery, interspersed with the title's leitmotiv, whether the notes of lorikeets in the morning trees, echoing voices in an abandoned railway tunnel, the mind's running commentary or the cosmic hum beyond the death of the stars.