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Corpus (Cape Poetry) [Paperback]

Michael Symmons Roberts
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 12.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

12 Aug 2004 Cape Poetry

Corpus - Michael Symmons Roberts' Whitbread-Prize winning fourth collection - centres around the body. Mystical, philosophical and erotic, the bodies in these poems move between different worlds - life and after-life, death and resurrection - encountering pathologists' blades, geneticists' maps and the wounds of love and war.

Equally at ease with scripture (Jacob wrestling the Angel in 'Choreography') and science ('Mapping the Genome'), these poems are a thrilling blend of modern and ancient wisdom, a profound and lyrical exploration of the mysteries of the body:' So the martyrs took the lamb./ It tasted rich, steeped in essence/ Of anchovy. They picked it clean/ And found within, a goose, its pink/ Beak in the lamb's mouth like a tongue.' Ranging effortlessly between the physical extremes of death - from putrefaction to purification - and life - drought and flood, hunger and satiation - the poems in Corpus speak most movingly of 'living the half-life between two elements', of what it is to be unique and luminously alive.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape; New Ed edition (12 Aug 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224073427
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224073424
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 254,773 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Symmons Roberts is a British poet and author.

His poetry has won the Forward Prize, the Costa Poetry Prize and the Whitbread Poetry Award, and been shortlisted for the Griffin International Poetry Prize, and the T.S. Eliot Prize. He has received major awards from the Arts Council and the Society of Authors. He has been described by Jeanette Winterson as 'a religious poet in a secular age. His work is about the connection between the things of the spirit and the things of the world. And his work is about transcendence.'

As a librettist, his continuing collaboration with composer James MacMillan has led to two BBC Proms choral commissions, song cycles, music theatre works and an opera for the Welsh National Opera - 'The Sacrifice' - which won the RPS Award for opera.

His broadcast work includes 'A Fearful Symmetry' - for Radio 4 - which won the Sandford St Martin Prize, and 'Last Words' commissioned by Radio 4 to mark the first anniversary of 9/11.

He has published two novels, and is Professor of Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University.

For news of publications, events, broadcasts etc see

Product Description


"Gorgeously meditative." (Christina Patterson Independent)

"Michael Symmons Roberts is a religious poet, though not in the sense of brandishing doctrinal certainties; he reflects on the world in a way that is informed by a sense of grace, of transcendence, but the pieces are grounded in detail, beautifully expressed, subtly luminous." (Robert Potts Guardian)

Book Description

A book about bodies, dead and living, real and imagined, earthbound and resurrected

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant look at the human body.... 3 Dec 2004
This book is a modern masterpiece. The one major thing I would say that it shows is how frail and simple the human body is. He shows the body in simple and beautiful terms, and demonstrating its frailities and complexities. His poems are hard hitting, with true signs of genies in every line. The reason I give it 4/5 is because I felt that the poems were often a little to easy to read. I like something you have to really grapple with, and this didnt fulfil that quota, but its beauty overcame that and left me with a profound feeling of what it is to be a living human being.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Diving into Corpus 6 Sep 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In this collection of poems Michael Symmons Roberts explores life and death, well actually 'explores' is probably not a good word in this context, 'dissects' or 'examines' would be better. You see so close does MSR draw you to the somatic subject matter that after turning a few pages you are left with a strange sensation, as if someone else's sweat were dripping down your spine. Yes, at times it really is that creepy... but never morbid, quite the opposite in fact. For instance JAIRUS oozes stickily whilst celebrating the aromatic goodness of mortality; and TONGUE journeys dizzyingly through fear and violence to the shimmering brink of hope.

If you love words, and believe in their ability to stir the soul, you will find Corpus a powerful agitator.
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