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Journeying: Flying, Family, Foraging, by Nicholas Ranson

This new selection of poems by Nicholas Ranson explores a full life lived across three continents, as a civilian and in the Royal Air Force.

Poems such as “Torun, Torun” and “Belsen 1965” capture a world that has become too familiar again with Putin’s “Special Operation” in Ukraine, and the joys and challenges of Cold War flying against the Warsaw Pact countries are captured in striking narrative metaphors.

In further poems we learn of a contrasting academic life that merges into poems of family growth and joy, the awareness of spiritual forces that have their place, and the awareness of landscape and the sea, in such poems as “The Housewrecking” and “Pyefleet Creek”.

Mary Oliver wrote: I liked “Still Life,” and “Love Song” and “The Lesson.” You are throughout so clean and clear and rational; these three . . . I thought transcended . . . did more, lifted from gravity.

Hayden Carruth noted of Ranson’s chapbook Track Made Good that it has given me considerable pleasure tonight. Especially the translations, “Pyefleet Creek,” “To My Daughter” . . . you have a fine sense of the line and the way syntax moves against it, the music of words.

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