A Halfway House

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Houses and gardens, remembered or imagined, dominate Neil Powell's sixth Carcanet collection. They range from a recollection of his grandmother's home in Chelsea to an abandoned, fog-shrouded building on the East Anglian coast; from a magical childhood garden in the Surrey hills to the composer Gerald Finzi's orchard in Hampshire. There is a sequence of sonnets set in the Waveney valley and a series of varied epigrams arranged as an alphabetical catalogue raisonne. As so often in Neil Powell's work, the North Sea laps at the edges of poems lit by the great Suffolk sky. Friends are recalled, birthdays celebrated, and A Halfway House ends with a moving elegy for the poet's father.