Brilliant: the more contemporary poetry I read, the more I realise just how good Maxwell is, and here he's outstanding. He is perhaps the most original, versatile and inventive of modern British poets.
He's not afraid of the basics - rhyme, rhythm, metre - and uses them to give his poems a pulsing physicality that is sadly lacking in other poets. As this is combined with an ability to speak English sideways, always pulling the rug from under your eyes, it makes him a very special poet and a joy to read.
Opener 'The Old Lad' has instantly become one of my favourite poems, and manages to be funny and angry simultaneously (the main character is on a plane 'beaming like a stewardess at the stewardess' in one of several trademark, syntactically tricksy turns of phrase). It also introduces the political, social and environmental themes which run throughout the book.
Maxwell doesn't have such a high profile as his friend and fellow poet Simon Armitage which is a great shame, as I'm sure people are missing out on an outstanding writer.