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Soil

Tim Cresswell

"Reading these poems is utterly transforming. A distinctive, important new voice is announced."

Jo Shapcott
the first instalment of the earthworks trilogy

Soil is a striking debut by geographer and poet Tim Cresswell – rich, multi-layered, full of organic life and the compacted detritus of the city.

His poems delight in the strange and are often situated at the cusp of the natural and urban worlds. A fox climbs to the top of a London skyscraper; municipal trees are displaced from their mountain habitats; sandworts take root in abandoned mine shafts; and geological time is glimpsed through the ‘crushed structures’ of the city.

Cresswell is interested in hinterlands, the in-between places: airport lounges, urban parks, the muddy verge of a river. The title sequence is a startling examination of man’s relationship with the very stuff of earth, redeploying the language of science and archaeology with surgical precision and an innovative flair.

Already an acclaimed academic and human geographer, this book introduces Tim Cresswell as a significant new poet of place, and our changing relationship to it. Soil is a striking debut – rich, multi-layered, full of organic life and the compacted detritus of the city.

 

Read an interview with Tim for the Journal of Wild Culture
Read an interview with Tim for Snipe London

Our price £8.99
RRP £8.99
paperback
80 pages
ISBN 9781908058157
Published 1 July 2013
Cover design: Matthew Young

Reviews

If this poetry was a geological formation, it would be layered and folded, with scientific knowledge and a quick linguistic wit, with echoes of folk song, unsentimental ecological awareness, word games and a sharp but not unkind eye on the everyday – all this, but metamorphic too, fused by human warmth into a memorable voice.
Philip Gross, Winner of TS Eliot Prize 2009

Tim Cresswell's poems unsettle. They cause us to relocate ourselves poem by poem as we encounter contemporary landscapes, airports, city streets, domestic interiors, layered in Cresswell's unique geological, poetic timeframe, and all made strange and testing by his brilliant and spare language. The central, major title sequence 'Soil' works through rhythms of space and light which stretch time so that the experience of reading these poems is utterly transforming. A distinctive, important new voice is announced in this debut collection.
Jo Shapcott, Winner of Costa Prize 2010

It's the liminal borderland that stirs the best from Cresswell ... He plays the connoisseur of the street, of urban language ... this is an enjoyable book with an unusual take on the urban world, suggesting that our cities ought to be seen as 'unlike melancholy'
Martyn Crucefix, Poetry London

Often startling, the poems offer thoughtful explorations of the world and our place in it.
Northeastern Magazine

This is poetry that is in turns, thought-provoking, evocative, moving, light-hearted in places, and so real that I could feel the soil under my fingernails – and not the dirty soil of wastelands but the earth soil from which beautiful things grow.
Sarah James

About the author

Tim Cresswell is a geographer and poet. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on the themes of place and mobility. His most recent title is Maxwell Street: Writing and Thinking Place (University of Chicago Press, 2019). His poems are widely published on both sides of the Atlantic, including in The Rialto, Poetry Wales, Magma, The Moth, LemonHound and Salamander. His trilogy of poetry collections, Soil (2013), Fence (2015) and Plastiglomerate (2020), were published by Penned in the Margins. He co-edits the interdisciplinary journal GeoHumanities and is the first Visiting Professor at the Centre for Place Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. Tim lives and works in Edinburgh where he is Ogilvie Professor of Geography at the University of Edinburgh.

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