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A RICH AND VARIED ANTHOLOGY: Josephine Corcoran Reviews Filigree: Contemporary Black British Poetry

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Full Review here:

Adam Lowe is a member of the steering committee of Schools OUT UK, creators of LGBT+ History Month, The Classroom and OUTing The Past.

In Adam Lowe’s ‘Boy-Machine,’ a different kind of air travel is contemplated as the myth of Icarus unfolds from three perspectives: the first speaker dreams of the sensual beauty of the boy who can fly: “I fevered with thoughts of him/tasted his buttocks’ dark cleft”, then Leonardo da Vinci falls in love with the physics of flight, conjuring up “wheels that spin kingdoms.” Finally, Icarus himself takes to the skies, but this is a wax-free re-telling of the myth and the poem ends with Icarus in control of his strong body and his own hopeful destiny:

                                                                                            Rocket man,
          missile, scissor-bird, I launch for space, I score the clouds,
          through oceanic skies, weightless.

These in-flight poems, and references in other poems to being airborne or above ground, as well as recalling ideas of exile, migration and escape, also invite readers to examine reality from an alternative perspective, to adopt a different world view than the one usually presented in British mainstream culture, particularly within poetry.

Adam Lowe – Boy-Machine

I am not fond of poems about Icarus, flight and birds (among other things), but if I do fall in love with poems on these topics it doesn’t take long before I start religiously scouring the internet for everything that poet has ever written. I am in awe of Boy- Machine, I was tipping towards the edge of my chair willing this brave soul’s flight to end in a more satisfying outcome than Icarus. The storytelling is breathtaking, I could feel my bones consulting with my dna to negotiate if I could grow wings for a brief moment. My bones settled for a re – reading.

‘… He stretched the thatch

over a lightweight wooden frame,

the way a lover’s embrace covers

a starved man with flesh.’

The book is available here: