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Review: Gravity for Beginners, by Kevin Crossley-Holland

‘Gravity is simply mutual attraction’ — Kevin Crossley-Holland

Kevin Crossley-Holland is probably best known for his stories for children but he has enjoyed parallel careers as a publisher — he was children’s books editor at Macmillan and, later, editorial director at Victor Gollancz — and poet. He has vividly reinterpreted British and Irish folk tales, Norse myths, and the Arthurian legends, as well as Anglo-Saxon verse — WH Auden and JRR Tolkien encouraged him to translate the Old English epic Beowulf. His new collection — Gravity for Beginners (Arc, ï??10.99) — reveals that influence on his work. ‘You don’t need long words when you can use good, clean, short ones’ viz’~ ‘Here’s a bone-house of sally crabs, and a wicked witch’s purse, spikes we’ve never seen before.. .‘and ‘what I watch is your hand steady as the boom lifts, and the boat drops, and above my knees the surge departs, departs...’and the plaintive,’Of what once was what’s left will soon be gone’.