From Professor Murasaki’s Notebooks on the Effects of Lightning on the Human Body

A John Latham poem is a like a precipitation: images coalesce around a single memory the way ice crystallises around the smallest particle to form a snowflake; the strange logic that constructs them is unique each time. Passionate, satirical, mysterious, the poems in his sixth collection capture the vibrancy of a childhood that still bewitches him half a century later, alongside the cruel betrayals of old age, and the fresh possibilities bound up in each new encounter. Latham’s training as a physicist may bring a cosmic perspective to the landscapes he maps out, but they are also profoundly local. The wonders of the universe are no more mysterious to him than the simple oddity of other humans. And as the title poem demonstrates, every last atom of detail, even the mistakes of a makeshift translation, has the capacity to beguile.


Praise for From Professor Murasaki’s Notebooks on the Effects of Lightning on the Human Body

"Words and phrases dance, echo and leave traces between found-text fragments and lyric poems, weaving a collection that feels alive with rhythmic desire." - The Contemporary Small Press

"Latham keeps a weather eye on life, seeking out new connections and things not yet discovered. His poems glisten with new insights, both enthralling and consoling." - Dundee University Review of the Arts

Praise for John Latham

His verse is almost all passionate recall of childhood and marriage, a poetry of sensitivity such as many novels offer. The detail is exact, the spirit of the past conjured through the words most feelingly. – The Observer

Spectacular writing, with lines that hang around in the mind long after you’ve read them. –Iron

Whether writing from the child’s eye view of the man’s, John Latham emerges from this, funny, tender book as a poet who sees truths from a strikingly original angle of vision. - Anglo-Welsh Review

The poetic effects are subtle… yet he is able to make the tiniest details sing. Unsentimental, plain, but rhythmically invigorating… – Poetry Review

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Full text available in English



Publication Date

September 2017