Virtual and other realities
In A Voyage', which opens Edwin Morgan's new book, he takes a cinematic risk, evoking the journey of the human sperm from ejaculation to fertilization. Broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1996, the poem opened new possibilities on the air as it does on the page. It belongs with Morgan's poems of space exploration, celebrating the chanciness and heroism of this most primal risk, and with his poetry of science. It also belongs with his love poems, performing a comprehensive synthesis of concerns.
Three sequences complete this ambitious book. Beasts of Scotland' was commissioned by the Glasgow International Jazz Festival and set to music by the saxophonist Tommy Smith. Like The Five-Pointed Star', written for the Burns Bicentenary of 1996, Beasts' shows how commissioned, occasional poetry can at once honor and transcend its occasion. The title sequence of fifty triplet poems considers the consequences to reality of notions of virtual reality'. Once again Morgan displays his versatility and his rooted passion for language, for place and for real people living in a modern world that can merit celebration, laughter and (however hard-won) joy. No wonder his work, with its Scottish and European perspectives, is at once sophisticated and popular.
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Ariel Freed Beasts of Scotland blood blue Burns carapace Carcanet caves cells cold conger cracks cries crunch dark dawn Day's End dead dream Edwin Morgan exciseman face fading faint fear feel Freesia Gannet Gibson Gibson Giordano Bruno Glasgow gone grass green head hear imagine James Macfarlan Kazimir Malevich keep kicks kill kilt lashing laugh leprechauns light lobsters mass Michelangelo Nefertiti never night nightmare packed pity Poems Poet Poetry prowl push qualia rain Realities sailboard Saluki scent scream shadow shining shout Sigourney silent Sir James Murray slip soars song speed of light Sperm stars supper swim tail tell thought threadworm three-and-twenty treasures throat throb thrust tingling told Tommy Smith tunnel universe unseen virtual Voyage waiting watch waves wild wind words Zaum
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