"You can't get there from here, but if you could, you'd have to take the train." Ghost Train, Sean O'Brien's fourth collection of poems, rides the network of routes into history, politics, autobiography, and the imaginative region where they meet. The tone of this new collection is no longer angry and political--a departure from his previous works, The Indoor Park, The Frighteners, and HMS Glasshouse--but has become almost elegiac and celebratory, sombre and "romantic." His most subtle work to date, the poems are not mellow and accepting of a post-Thatcherite Britain, but more aghast and troubled. O'Brien's writing is traditional in style, but he deploys an altogether contemporary vocabulary and his sense of rhythm is paramount. This is a moving book.
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The AllNight Afternoon
A Provincial Station
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absent afterlife afternoon Awaiting Basil Bunting bath Baudelaire beneath beside Birchwood black-and-white blue Bookless bridge bulb CANTONA clock corridors damp dark dawn dead drawers dream dripping dusk England face Farewell football Forest Hall forever forget Fuck garden GHOST TRAIN girl glass Glasshouse glimpse Grimsby hair haunted hear heaven hour Howay Hull kiss Knee-deep language leaves Leeds light live looks meaning metro Middle-aged mind mirror moon never Newcastle night Northern Arts nylon oddments Ouseburn parquet Past Paul Durcan pause extends pissed poems have appeared punters railway rain READING STEVENS river roar of trains silent sing sleep slide smoke smoke-ring snowmen someone somewhere Somme speak stare station steam Sunday sweating theme park There's trouper Tyne upper room upstairs vanish verses viaducts Victorian waiting walk weather window winter write wrong