Peter Dale combines intimacy of address and a personal colloquial idiom with remarkable skill in formal verse. He is interested in bringing his subjects – love, relationships, memory, all kinds of daily exchange – directly to the reader, without fuss and with thoughtful craft and conviction. The precision of his writing matches its intensity of feeling.
Diffractions begins with new poems and ends with a collection of lively and entertaining epigrams. Between these, his published collections appear in chronological sequence. The whole assembles 50 years of elegant, incisive and moving work by a leading British poet of rare skill.
‘Dale’s lyric style is intensely intimate whilst avoiding the histrionic pitfalls of the confessional mode. His formidable formal control is similarly understated, living up to his own injunction that “a poet shouldn’t draw attention to his stylistic self; the poem should be a lens through which something crucial is seen.” ’ – Esther Morgan
‘Peter Dale is the most underrated poet of his generation’ – Michael Donaghy
Late, always late. If she’d show up … No joy.
But then in you mooch, the same old duffel coat.
No, your spit image it was – and such a jolt.
Never believed in ghosts, quiet or unquiet.
Anyway, thanks to his spooking turn and pause,
he’d raised your old wry grin, the doubtful glances,
our black-list updates of limelight worshippers.
Years since the last of our yarning liquid lunches.
I’m chronic years older than you’d be now,
twin sceptic, verging on the garrulous bore.
You’d not mistake this wreck for me, you know.
You’d miss me face to face, crossing the bar.
– Where is she? – Well, you’d said, nearing your exit,
boredom’s more interesting the older you get.