The Lookout Post, Kevin Graham’s first collection, is a book of uncommon poise and range. It includes harrowing accounts of illness, a suicide, and joyous celebrations of fatherhood and family life. Surprising revelations — ‘And it strikes me there is only / the moment’ (‘The Knack’) and ‘It’s both enough and never enough’ (‘Weathering’) — match original detail — ‘the worried frown // knitted on his brow didn’t drop a stitch’ (‘The Lesson’). Whether it’s in the extended sequence, ‘Sketches’, which draws on the letters of Van Gogh, or shorter poems which pay homage to Wendell Berry, Zinedine Zidane and Derek Mahon or ruminate on Elizabeth Bishop’s sojourn in Ireland, The Lookout Post seamlessly melds the ordinary and the literary. As the book’s title might suggest this is a collection of acutely observed reflection by an outstanding new and assured voice.
‘For years now Kevin Graham’s formal skill and emotional power have marked him out as a rare poetic talent.’ — Ciarán O’Rourke