Material Properties

Jacob Polley

16 February 2023
80 pages


Material Properties, Jacob Polley's fiith collection of poems with Picador, asks what it might mean to interpret and translate wildness into human language and human understanding. The book is a multi-faceted and vital exploration of the non-human, the elemental and the borders between existences. Through poems of parenthood at a time of environmental emergency, and poetic versions of Old English riddles in which animals, objects and natural phenomena speak, the book poses essential questions about our relationship with the living world and with each other.

Praise for previous work, Jackself, from T.S. Eliot Prize judges: ‘a firework of a book, inventive, exciting and outstanding in its imaginative range and depth of feeling’.

The poems have an unforced charm, delighting in the wonder that surrounds us
Polley’s grasp . . . is masterful, and the book is a delight. He succeeds in echoing the texture of his poetic forebears, but with a wry panache which is all his own.
What sustains these playful, wise, gentle lyrics is Polley’s technical skill. Longer poems are activated and maintained by their musicality and by a particular way with syntax that seeks to give texture and topography to the poems. One feels them as one is delighted by them