Taken from his first six books, these poems confirm Robert Crawford as a poet of exhilarating energy wedded to a constantly refreshing delight in nuanced language. Richly nourished by his background, Crawford's work is both lyrical and wry. Its intelligent humour and attunement to our technological present are impressively fused with a deepening note of spirituality. Unpredictable yet recognisable, these are poems of beguiling vitality. While readers have praised Crawford's lovingly lyrical engagement with politics and science in such collections as A Scottish Assembly (1990) and Spirit Machines (1999), with gender in Masculinity (1996), or with environment and spirituality in The Tip of My Tongue (2003), what emerges in this Selected Poems is a clearly growing commitment to the protean delight of poetry itself: a belief in its uniqueness as a medium which can subtly sound out complex relationships with heartfelt intelligence. In Crawford's language there is a confidently contemporary Scottish music that celebrates a kinship between the cherished, minute detail, local or personal, and the magnificently universal, 'As a candle-flame believes in the speed of light'.
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