The Quiet Place Book Club choice for January
WINNER OF THE TS ELIOT POETRY PRIZE 2019
WINNER OF THE RSL ONDAATJE PRIZE 2020
'Ranging from the most breath-taking poems about the Grenfell Tower fire to the most exquisitely moving poems about the premature birth of his son, who had to fight for his life in an incubator. His poems are deep, mature, moving and inventive.' Bernadine Evaristo for New Statesman
The collection's title points to the underlying philosophy expressed in these poems: that earthly joy is, or ought to be, just within, but is often just beyond our reach, denied by racism, misogyny, physical cruelty and those with the class power to deny others their share of worldly goods and pleasures.
A Portable Paradise is not the emptiness of material accumulation, but joy in an openness to people, places, the sensual pleasures of food and the rewards to be had from the arts of word, sound and visual enticement- in short an insatiable hunger for life. The poems express a fierce anger against injustice, but also convey the irrepressible sense that Roger Robinson cannot help but love people for their humour, oddity and generosity of spirit.
These are finely crafted poems, that reveal Roger Robinson's capacity to tell involving stories and capture the essence of a character in a few words, to move the emotions with the force of verbal expression, and engage our thoughts, as in the sequence of poems that reflect on just what paradise might be.
A Portable Paradise is a feast to be carried by lovers of poetry wherever they go.