Road Trip by Marvin Thompson (Peepal Tree, 2020); The Caprices by James Byrne (Arc, 2019); Deformations by Sasha Dugdale (Carcanet, 2020)

Written by Lucy Sheerman for Long Poem Magazine on Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021

As Thompson’s poems make clear, such deep insight into all the subtle violences that racism perpetrates does not bring with it any simplified sense of the aching complexity of the human condition, it doesn’t even gift a sense of moral certainty, it merely adds to the complexity of each moment, the intent it brings, the attention he must pay it. In fact, it adds almost unbearable pressure and freight to even the most normal of acts, such as parenting, grieving, painting a bedroom wall. Thompson uses the scope of the long poem to achieve a sense of the accumulation of this intolerable burden.