[Andrew Motion] is unhesitating in his reservations about contemporary politics and climate change, but the primacy of his craft in poetry is never in question. ‘Here I am corrupt yet become unearthly innocent’: this, one of the many aphorisms that populate the volume, ably stands for the open, despairing, tenacious figure of the poet.
Randomly Moving Particles is built from two long poems that form its opening and close, connected by three shorter pieces. The title poem, in a kaleidoscope of compelling scenes, engages with subjects that include migration, placement, loss, space exploration, and current British and American politics. It is a clarifying action and reaction between terra and solar system, mundanity and possibility, taking us from the grit of road surfaces to the distant glimpses of satellites. The final poem, “How Do the Dead Walk,” combines mythic reach with acute observation of the familiar, in order to address issues of contemporary violence. It is altogether more dreamlike, even in its tangibly military moments, grasping as it does at phantoms and intermediate plains.
Andrew Motion’s expansive new poetry collection is direct in its emotional appeal and ambitious in its scope, all while retaining the cinematic vision and startling expression that so freshly lit the lines of his last, Essex Clay.
Motion offers an ambitious and engaging inquiry into mortality, politics, and place.
Past Praise for Andrew Motion: Motion shows new confidence in formal playfulness, from exploded lyric verses to prose-poem blocks and shorter bursts of more conventional stanzas.
Past Praise for Andrew Motion: There is an equally journalistic tone to much of Motion’s war poetry, a like fascination with the smallest detail, the observed, ordinarily missable, fleeting thing. Many of the poems are ‘found,’ repurposed prose and speech; dialogue and utterance stand in for performed, foregrounded craft, and are all the more affecting for their hesitations, stutters, and colloquial slips.
Andrew Motion is professor of creative writing at Royal Holloway College, University of London, and co-founder of the online Poetry Archive. He has received numerous awards for his poetry, and has published four celebrated biographies. His group study The Lamberts won the Somerset Maugham Award and his authorized life of Philip Larkin won the Whitbread Prize for Biography. Motion was knighted in the United Kingdom for his services to poetry in 2009.