James Lasdun's new book of poems, his first since his acclaimed collection Landscape with Chainsaw, applies his characteristic blend of the celebratory and the elegiac to a rich variety of new themes and old obsessions.
At once personal and political, Water Sessions brilliantly registers the shock waves of global tumult in the most intimately domestic of settings, while at the same time constantly feeling its way outward through private experience into the larger arenas of social and civic drama.
Fathers and sons, men and women, desire and repression, art and silence, form the book's central polarities. Recurrent motifs of water and gardens give its wide-ranging subjects a satisfying coherence while also supplying its sometimes darkly urgent poems with a note of intense lyrical beauty.
Much praised for the wit and tensile strength of his line, Lasdun moves in this volume from the tight formality of 'Stones' through the highly original patient/therapist dialogue form of the title poem, to the exuberant free verse of 'Dog Days', with a versatility and intelligence that ensure his standing as one of the most gifted poets writing today.