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In this, Matthew Sweeney's eighth full-length collection, the disarming fabulist and mythmaker steps out on his own into fresh territory. These are poems from a mapless journey through the backwaters of Europe and the New World - imbued, as always, with the strange, unerring logic of dream, but carrying now a new, fugitive, lyrical note. The sanctuary of the title is fragile and hard-won, and the complexities of the emotional life are written into the architecture of the physical, making for a poetry that is both vulnerable and disturbing.
Celebrated for his ability to blend the simple terror of folklore with the more sophisticated anxieties of Kafka and the contemporary, Sweeney moves through this book like a revenant - past monkeys dressed as doormen, through ice-hotels and showers of human hair, towards a scaffold or a lover. Obliquely sinister and wryly engaging, full of fright and grim hilarity, these are rootless poems - unsettled and unsettling, and very far from home.
A Poetry Book Society Recommendation.