The Black-Out Book, the author's third book of poetry, deals with navigation in its many guises, taking points of departure from a variety of domestic, social and political contexts, but above all, attempting to chart and fix points in collective and private histories.
It's an excellent sign that Carpenter's idiosyncratic poems defy categorisation: he's trying to do something new in every poem, and the results are terrific.
The loving, fragmentary recollection of a father's wartime experience with which The Black-Out Book begins sets out a complex and ambitious stall of which time is the centrepiece. Peter Carpenter's take on realism, now elegiac, now humorous, now dry, is original and, thankfully difficult to place. Its mode of speech may lie somewhere on the hinterland between modernist and traditional territory, but its authenticity is characteristically English, surviving in a climate of Stoical fracturing, under a gritty show of fine particulars. It is a new voice, precise and distinct and therefore doubly welcome.
ISBN 1 900072 69 6
Published March 2002