By Eric Langley
Carcanet Press Ltd.
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Characterized by a rigorous attention to each word's layers of etymology or latent semantic possibilities, Eric Langley's debut collection takes its cue from the art-conservation technique of "raking light," where an oblique beam is thrown across the surface of a picture plane to reveal its textures and overlays. Under raked light, a picture reveals its damage and deterioration, the craquelure, canvas-warp or inconsistent frame tension, in order to assess authenticity and reveal the artist's abandoned intentions. Likewise, Langley's poetry – attentive to resonance and echo – looks to pick up on lost meanings, to pay attention to buried intent, acknowledging language's abandoned significances. Picking out traces of obscured sense or inarticulacy, his verse picks at words to test their efficacy and authenticity, feeling out their substance, and hopefully proving their worth. These are poems – elegies or love-lyrics – concerned with miscommunication, with intentions gone astray, with loss and the uncertainties inherent to interaction.
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