Alchemy in Reverse [hardcover] by Garry Kilworth

Product Code: 978-1-786361-21-9
Stock Status: available to order
Brand: PS Publishing
Condition: New
Weight: 0.3kg
Unsigned hardcover POETRY collection.


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EDITION Hardcover
FRONTISPIECE ART François Thisdale
ISBN  978-1-786361-21-9

In the main these are poems about some of the corners of the world where I have lived, about weapons and about creatures of the wild. They are subjects embedded in my upbringing, interest and experience. Included also, are four experimental sound poems: strange or exotic names of things or people. My influences have been Coleridge, Tennyson, Hughes, Whitman, Plath, Carlos Williams and Li Po: poets I enjoy and enjoy and enjoy.

Garry Kilworth was born in York in 1941, but now lives in a Suffolk village. Since the age of 12 he has been writing short stories and poetry, despite a poor, unstructured education as a military family’s child. Though widely travelled and raised in Aden and Singapore he loves the English countryside, being at heart a rural boy from farming antecedents.
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Mark Fuller Dillon
- Quebec, Canada
4 Stars

Garry Kilworth loves nouns and names. He can show you fifteen terms for wind, various words for ships and boats, the songlike titles for the peals of church-bells, and yet, like the Spanish in his poem, "Cerro Gordo," he remains at heart a plain speaker:


"They call it like it is.</br>

Not for them those fancy names:</br>

Home-of-the-Gods or</br>


A fat hill is called Fat Hill."</br>

He also loves the world. Animals and peoples, deserts and seas, the bustling smells of towns, the sweetness and acidities of foods, the cometary gleams of the Oort Cloud: these are all, for him, variations of home, and he writes as if he belonged in all such places and with all such people.


His memories call for attention, as in "Aden, 1953":


"Steamer Point with its liners like sleek racehorses, waiting for the off,</br>

and Khormaksar's black volcanic sands</br>

with its dromedaries, simply waiting."</br>


Or in "Singapore," during its days of rainforests and kampongs on stilts:


"I passed girls with oranges on their breath.</br>

Girls in cheongsams with twilight eyes.</br>

Girls with midnight hair and morning smiles.

Girls who looked back at a young man."


Yet he also knows that places and people change with time, often in ways that defy understanding. He accepts all of this with clear eyes and wry humour, as in "Bathsheba":


"If you were caught bathing,</br>

seen from a rooftop</br>

in this century, in this decade,</br>

soaping your breasts</br>

in the moonlight</br>

(though innocent of eyes)</br>

there would be dozens, nay</br>

thousands of Davids --</br>

and Johns and Toms and Seans --</br>

you'd be on YouTube</br>

before the morning sun</br>

dried your dripping towel...."</br>


Objects and materials fascinate him, and so do living forms. He can show you the difference between a bolt-action 0.303 Lee-Enfield No. 4 Mk 2 rifle, and an AK47. He sees the "feral" beauty in Suffolk flint, the "willow-sprung" energy of hares, the "bladed shape" of a windhover that "shaves the sky." He can stand in the middle of the Southwold Sailor's Reading Room, "scarred and shabby... one part stillness, two parts time," and not only pick up the details around him, but perceive beyond them to a way of life:


"Days of fire and freezing rain,</br>

nights when winds drove sharp and deep.</br>

They brawled with squalls and screaming gales,</br>

battled with unyielding seas,</br>



What he offers, then, is a quiet, accepting book from a man at war neither with himself nor with life; a gentle book of observations and memories from someone lost in the world yet happy to be lost:


"Do not look for me:</br>

I do not want to be found."