In the Country of Birds


James Sutherland-Smith

The surface of many poems in this work draw on life in the Middle East and Middle Europe, but their interior is a tension between the allurements of the strange and a repulsion against its brutalities.

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James Sutherland Smith’s poems draw on his experiences of life in the Middle East and Middle Europe; what is most strange, they tell us, is to be found not in the exoticism of remote locales, but close to home. His language ventures into foreign and domestic places, into nature, politics, and the self-discoveries and self-deceptions of sexuality. A poem may begin as a purposeful quest but find its meaning in falling by the wayside. It may set out in full possession of its wits and end the journey distracted and unsure. All the poems are marked by a fascination with appropriate language and are alive to the textures of the world.

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