Firewriting and Other Poems

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This is John Muckle's first poetry collection. The book's main feature is the long title poem, in which the author imagines that the German-Jewish critic Walter Benjamin escaped death by his own hand on the French-Spanish border in 1940 - his revolver misfired - and has survived as a kind of wanderer and witness. After the war he returned to Paris, but later moved to London where, in the 'now' of the poem at the age of 120, he is recalling some of his ideas - and confessing - to a nurse, whom he imagines might also be a student of his work. The poem is a personal view of Benjamin, and the author hopes that any reader unfamiliar with his writings might begin with 'Illuminations' and embark on a long journey with one of the great radical thinkers of any century. The remainder of the book features many of Muckle's trademark narrative poems.