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My third full-sized collection of poems; the point where a poet traditionally discovers forms and goes a bit bonkers. So there are many sonnets and triolets to accompany the haikus and limericks. Special thanks to Mollie Baxter, Ron Baker, Sarah Fiske and Simon Kurt Unsworth of the Monkeyrack writers' group for advice and feedback in the creation of these pieces.

Local journalist Anthony Coppin writes...

Garstang poet Norman Hadley goes from strength to strength. This is a collection of his work from July 2009 to July 2010, and represents some of the best in regional poetry.

What comes across in most of the poems is a sense of place, of landscape, of nature. The poems are challenging, too. For example, a three-line poem titled Bleasdale brings out the turmoil of the skyscapes often seen over that district. And links it to the burbling of its curlews in spring, asking Who owns what?

The poem Craven explores what Hadley sees as an unexpected foreign flavour to that part of the North, while other poems, such as Antipodes, are more global in their geographical reach.

The book also contains a series of eight poems inspired by a competition linked to Castlerigg Stone Circle. Echoes of Arthurian legend, Viking invaders and metaphysical mistresses weave a sense of mystery in the mind as one reads the poems here.

There's more than a bit of fun, too - for example in a poem with an irreverent look at the way parts of southern England got their names (with crafty references to naughty Chaucer).

Hadley, in my view, has similarities with Ted Hughes but without Hughes' constant over-grittiness and pessimism.

To a Running Deer

I watched you spring through swishing grass

Startled by a twitch of wind; perhaps

You caught my scent - an admiration unrequited -

And loped so fast, your nostrils scooped up all the air

The clearing had. I only caught my breath

When you had angled antlers with a subtle twist

Into the thicket's midst and, last, your moon-faced rump

Went bobbing into thorny depths.

But you'll remain, an abstract painting on

The Lascaux cave inside my skull,

Plato-perfect, running for the joy of windrush

Unpursued by spears - wild as what we were.

Video extracts from the book

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