What people are saying…

Neil in his living room

‘Of every poem the authorship is twofold — the poet himself and the language he inherits from countless men and women, known and unknown, who have used and formed and loaded its words with meaning. Neil Curry’s poems are characterised by a precise and profound sense of the English language as the matrix of our culture. He uses words with both exactness and feeling. His themes perpetuate the minutiae of lives and places on the frontiers of anonymity, subtleties and details whose precision draws from the records of history resonances of a latent poetry. A poet who respects his inheritance, he also transmits unimpaired — indeed recharged — England’s greatest wealth, our language.’

Kathleen Raine

‘Ships in Bottles is a considerable achievement. It is a book to be treasured, to go back to.’

Julian May, Poetry Review

‘Curry has a mind stocked with the curiosities of history and natural history.’

Poetry Review

‘A poet after my own heart.’

Amy Clampitt

The Road to the Gunpowder House
‘Like the American poet Henry Taylor, Curry doesn’t rush to publish; this is his first collection in 10 years. Like Taylor’s collections, which appear every 10 years, Curry’s amply reward faithful readers’ patience. Taylor’s near-contemporary, Curry is enduring similar experiences, such as the deaths of family members and friends, and he responds to everyday observations with an eye as keen for the epiphany as Taylor’s in Understanding Fiction (1996). The Englishman differs, however, in, besides style, his overtly religious imagery and allusions, which is why no lover of religious verse should miss reading him. He doesn’t write deliberately devotional or theological poetry, but naturally uses the formats of consideration given him by Christianity, in particular. His collection Walking to Santiago (1992) was based on his experience of the age-old pilgrimage route from southern France to the relics of St. James in northern Spain (see also Kathryn Harrison’s Road to Santiago, reviewed on p.284). “Fourteen Steps along the Edge,” the elegy for four dead acquaintances that concludes this book, is modeled on the Stations of the Cross. Curry uses them to expand grief for and questioning about the four personally known dead to include the world’s recently, horribly slaughtered, and to express both faith and angry doubt. By no means are all the other poems in the book religiously based, but when they are, they are meaningfully and movingly so based.’

Ray Olson, Booklist