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The Book of Bells and Candles (2009)
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Norman Jope Aphinar (2012)

On Dreams of the Caucasus

Jope has a turn of phrase that lifts off the page. It is exhilarating work, but these texts are not just an exercise in style... with their density of content, (they) are definitely worth rereading.
Donald Gardner, Ambit

Beautifully constructed writing which soars away into the stratosphere while remaining perfectly engaged at an internal, thought-provoking level.
Steve Spence, Stride

For me, the most remarkable feature of Dreams of the Caucasus is the arc drawn between the ethereal, albeit impersonal and objective style, at the beginning of the book and the deeply human and personal poetic language at the end.
Zoltan Tarcsay, Apokrif
(Hungarian online literary magazine)

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ISBN 978-1-906742-53-9

£10.00
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There’s a sense of the physical geography of the body being depen-dant on its location that, combined with Jope’s studied sensitivity to the psycho-geographical nuances of his surroundings, draws you in.
Nathan Thompson, Tears In The Fence

For me, the ringing glory of Jope’s poetry ... is the seemingly effortless way in which he is able to balance his modernist sensibilities with an immediately attractive, painterly and musical application of language.
Alan Morrison, The Recusant

This companion volume to the acclaimed Dreams of the Caucasus (Shearsman, 2010) is selected from poems written, and widely published, since the late Nineties. These pieces explore the same themes of travel, desire, adventure and mortality that pervade that collection and, indeed, Jope’s previous Waterloo collection The Book of Bells and Candles (2009).

Seeing the world and eating it whilst one still has the energy to do so — whether directly or via an array of ‘remote viewing’ strategies — is key to Jope’s motivation. On the one hand, therefore, this poetry takes the time it needs for a good (or sometimes devilish) look — on the other hand it is as if its gambits were being countered throughout by a player whose face is always in shadow.

In this regard, the focal reference to Aphinar — the unidentifiable city of Rimbaud’s death-bed delirium — is an appropriate one, beyond the assurance of any map. Symbolic as it is of the reconciliation, in Jope’s oeuvre, of actual and virtual travelogue Aphinar is also the city that we all inhabit as we lie in wait for the death that lies in wait for us. What emerges from these pieces, however — whether in spite of, or because of this — is a profound and poignant love of life and of the possibilities that it offers.

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Norman Jope was born in 1960 in Plymouth, where he lives again after lengthy spells in other locations (most recently Bristol and Budapest) and is closely involved with the Language Club, a long-established live poetry collective based in the city.

He has published three collections: For the Wedding-Guest (Stride, 1997), The Book of Bells and Candles (Waterloo Press, 2009) and Dreams of the Caucasus (Shearsman Books, 2010).

With the late Ian Robinson, Jope co-edited the anthology In the Presence of Sharks: New Poetry from Plymouth (Phlebas, 2006). He was the editor of the literary and cultural magazine Memes and co-edited a Critical Companion to Richard Berengarten (Salt, 2011).

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