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Despite the impenetrability most readers initially felt when opening Peter Larkin’s Give Forest Its next Portent, most also expressed some admiration whether for the surprising breadth and inventive use of language, the sounds and rhythm of the poetry or the sheer dedication in this forensic linguistic examination of the forest without recourse to coherence or narrative. None of us had read it in its entirety, but most felt it was a book they would return to, dipping in, a bit at a time. The collection explores the dense, endlessly branching nature of a forest in sections, with introductions that start out as technical explanations of starting points then quickly ravel into poetry. One reader identified the jargon of linguistics and genetics being used, both of which further support the idea of branching. Different forms are used throughout with blocks of prose poetry, some sections interspersed with short stanzas, while other sections use long line stanzas. Some readers felt the language was so obtuse as to exclude or leave no place for a reader; others felt this abstraction gave the reader a landscape to explore and interpret at will. Decide for yourself by downloading a PDF sample from the Shearsman website.

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