"The most important debut this year... Shukman turns a slow, calm gaze on the world, captures what he sees with a skill that conceals his artistry. Beneath the understatement the emotion glints bright as quartz... he evokes all that is unspoken, unsaid, and yet most important at the same time" (Rachel Campbell-Johnston The Times)
"Wierdly ingenious... almost everything brims with surely acheived detail. His talent lies in sheer narrative resource, and humour" (Alan Brownjohn Sunday Times)
"Despite their quiet, elegant demeanour, these poems tack and skim to elemental forces. This is a concise, well-shaped first collection [with] the kind of bold emotion more usually associated with American verse... [and] lines whose tensile strength is woven from something other than irony" (John Greening Times Literary Supplement)
"An object lesson in how lyricism, emotional precision adn the ache of nostalgia can be combined" (Wayne Burrows Poetry London)
With this assured and powerful first collection, Henry Shukman springs fully-formed into the poetry world, having already won a raft of prizes for individual poems. His sensibility is unique, engaging and immediate; we are drawn into the worlds of these poems by his accurate eye, his sensual line and the warmth of his communion with the scene he describes.
Ranging across the globe, from Mexico to Japan, from the States to Southern England, these poems can be lyrical and deeply affecting, wryly funny or wildly imaginative. From a lonely mother attempting to learn the piano to a ski-jump that never ends, from a redemptive encounter with horses on a cold day to a miraculous bowl of chicken soup, these poems display a vibrancy and variety rarely seen in contemporary poetry. But Shukman's great strength is in the domestic: the complexities of love, and the rites of passage of childhood and parenthood, are re-entered with candour, grace and originality.
In Doctor No's Garden is an affectionate, refreshing debut, striking in its imagery and insight, remarkable for its lightness of touch and emotional weight.
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