Fresh Out of the Sky (Paperback)
It is about perpetually standing at the edge of change, anticipating it, reflecting on it and dreaming about it. The title sequence of the book returns to the terza rima theme of memory, following sequences in George Szirtes' earlier books, such as those about early Budapest childhood explored in Reel, and about growing to adulthood in England in An English Apocalypse. Here the theme is arrival in England as a child in 1956. These are followed by the second part of The Yellow Room, a continuing poem of impossible questions about identity as residual Jewishness, in the form of a dialogue with Szirtes' late father.
After that there is a brief section of bridging poems set in the aftermath of war, upheaval and life in contemporary England that leads to Going Viral, a substantial section of ten-line poems, divided into brief chapters, presenting dreamlike reports from the Covid bunkers we have all been inhabiting and ending on occasions of consolation, delight and joy in the midst of darkness and uncertainty. The book then moves, by way of five interludes, from one dreamlike experience to another, in the form of nine dream songs set in an unstable social and political landscape. The last section steps from dream to a bestiary of transformations woven through Guillaume Apollinaire and Graham Sutherland.