‘On First Hearing Careless Whisper’ is one of several poems in this compelling new collection that put time on pause to look at life through art, whether 1980s pop, or painting, or a congeries of writers including Emily BrontÃ«, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, D.H. Lawrence, Alice Munro, Fernando Pessoa and the New York Poets … and several of Sansom’s beloved contemporaries.
But keenly-observed family life is at the centre of this warm, witty and moving book by one of our best-loved poets and teachers. Sansom evokes working-class life in the early and mid-twentieth century, through the 1970s of vinyl and tie-dye, and into the uncertain present day. We travel in his first car, and meet roofers, walkers, darts players and a pigeon fancier. We see Sheffield as it is seldom portrayed. His elegies celebrate Gerard Benson, children’s poet and founder of Poems on the Underground; and Sarah Maguire, poet, translator and anthologist. All human life, and death, are to be found here. There is laughter and tears and a vivid evocation of a world that survives thanks to poems like these.