Doomed Spanish poet Federico Lorca, ill-fated Tudor battleship the Mary Rose, a Ming dynasty porcelain flask, a sawing horse: in a collection spanning almost 40 years, Tom Furniss’s poetry ranges far and wide, forging connections between past and present, sculpting fresh images from the global and historical, and from the domestic and mundane.
Several early poems, such as ‘Chameleon’ and ‘Break of Day’, distil complex ideas into sharp, elliptical verse. Others are lyrical, expansive and digressive. Some are playful or political, or both. More recent poems, some inspired by memories of a Northamptonshire childhood, others by the joys of late fatherhood, display a muscular simplicity. Here and there are echoes of Wordsworth and Shelley, Bob Dylan and The Beatles, the writer’s first loves and avowed early influences. But each poem is deeply personal and individual. They ring true with an authentic voice.