Love Songs of Carbon is Philip Gross's 18th book of poetry, and is a coming of age - inhabiting the ageing body with a confident, inventive curiosity. At the same time searching, tender, intellectually agile, unexpected and erotic, this is poetry at home with great shifts of perspective, from the outer edge of science to the sensations at our fingertips. These are love poems, both to the person and to the body itself, even as - especially as - it faces entropy and decay.
Born in Cornwall, son of an Estonian wartime refugee, Philip Gross has lived in Plymouth, Bristol and South Wales, where he was Professor of Creative Writing at Glamorgan University (USW). His 19th collection, A Bright Acoustic (2017), follows nine previous books with Bloodaxe,
including Love Songs of Carbon (2015), winner of the Roland Mathias Poetry Award (Wales Book of the Year), also a Poetry Book Society Recommendation; Later (2013); Deep Field (2011), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, which was shortlisted for the Roland Mathias Poetry Award (Wales Book of the Year); The Water Table (2009), winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize; The Egg of Zero (2006); Mappa Mundi (2003), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation; and Changes of Address: Poems 1980-1998 (2001), his selection from earlier books including The Ice Factory, Cat's Whisker, The Son of the Duke of Nowhere, I.D. and The Wasting Game. His book I Spy Pinhole Eye (Cinnamon Press, 2009), a collaborative work with photographer Simon Denison, won the Wales Book of the Year Award 2010. He won a Cholmondeley Award in 2017. Philip Gross's poetry for children includes Manifold Manor, The All-Nite Caf (winner of the Signal Award 1994), Scratch City and Off Road To Everywhere (winner of the CLPE Award 2011). Since The Song of Gail and Fludd (1991) he has published nine more novels for young people, most recently The Storm Garden (2006).
'Gross does appear to have come into his own, with fresh wind in his sails... Now in his sixties... he is working at quite a throttle and with a full-throated clarity that sounds, suddenly, like no one else around' - Conor O'Callaghan, Poetry London.; 'Later is a magnificent extended elegy, formally adventurous, poised between narrative and metaphysics, themes and variation' - Carol Rumens, Poetry Review.; 'This is a collection which consistently grips, involves and challenges; it confirms Philip Gross as one of our most consistently interesting and skilful poets' - Tony Brown, New Welsh Review.; 'The writing is sinewy, urgent and resourceful. This poet is a master of form, deploying his visual and aural patterns for emphasis, as if the page were a musical score. The absolute poise of the lines carve a way through the knotted difficulty of the raw material' - Michael Symmons Roberts & Moniza Alvi, PBS Bulletin, on Deep Field.