‘Editing Answering Back, in which living poets replied to poems from the past, I was astonished to see how many of the poems, old and new, referred to the moon. I then started to keep a record of such references, and from my notebook, I see that in one morning alone I came across no fewer than nine poems, from the likes of Coleridge, Graves, Rosetti and Rowe – and it was this selection that initially inspired To the Moon.
There’s something incredibly moving, and electrifying, to read a poem from the Chinese Book of Odes, written around 500 BC, and to feel both our distance from and our closeness to the past, and the Moon itself:
I climbed the hill just as the new moon showed,
I saw him coming on the southern road.
My heart lays down its load.
In collecting together poems such as these – poems that span continents and centuries – To the Moon shows what it is to be human; to love, to lose, to dream and to hope. The poems it contains give us a real and profound sense of our time on this planet, and the pleasures they offer are – like space itself – infinite.’