|‘What good poems Patrick Mackie writes – smart, elemental, and funny, sometimes dark and solid as earth, sometimes bright and fluid as rain. He has great range, and presence, and to read him is to be enlarged.’
– Philip Gourevitch
The river Rhine starts to flow through Gloucestershire. Someone reads Russian poetry as a general election approaches. The people who live on the sun turn out to be worried about the people down here on earth – who include, in other poems, John Wayne and Osip Mandelstam, Simone Weil and Margaret Thatcher and Amy Winehouse. Casting its lines across rainfall and motorways and the lives of the saints alike, mining a wild humour from the vastness of our cultural disarray, The Further Adventures Of The Lives Of The Saints gives a new account of what the modern lyric is capable of.
The lives of the saints are machines
for processing strangeness,
it can be as stealthy as anorexia
or as rapid as a conversation with a bird on a
dishevelled pathway . . .
‘Mackie conjures, amongst other things, the strange aliveness of the countryside at night and the churning dynamics of the universe; he is compelling on the hallucinatory energies of both the urban and the rural, as well as on the eerie emotional life of the roads and cars that connect them. There are disconcertingly acute evocations of our historical moment; a sombre and playful riff on Jaws, in ‘In Praise of the Black Coast’, swells into a frightening intimation of the 20th century’s cinematic horror; ‘A Few Spots of Rain at the Petrol Station’ and ‘Slide’ capture, in a driving Dylanesque incantation, the frenzied bleakness of the early 21st century. These poems take strides with an unpredictable and teeming energy, and the result is a world seen through a gaze that is both meticulous and wild.’ ‘A welcome onslaught, a carnival of erudition paid out like tickertape .... At their best these feel like poems written in exile, after ruination, trying to coax us back to a forgotten home, “to bring us in and at long last heal us”.’
– Katherine Angel
‘He is a landscape poet, a poet of the built environment, an aphorist, a localist, a star-gazer, a follower of Edward Thomas in the boots of Fredric Jameson ... masterful.’
– Stephen Burt, The Poetry Review
– Declan Ryan, Times Literary Supplement