By Jacob Polley

Jackself is staying in
today, like a tool in a toolbox,
to try to just be
     high in the lovely lofts
of Lamanby
he stands at a cracked
window watching the gulls
flash and snap, like washing on a line

     in the pale heat
the wormy heartwood floorboards
swell and creak

   he stands for an age
            not for a dark age,
not for an ice age or an iron age, but for a
pollen age, when bees
browsed the workshops
of wildflowers for powder
of light, and the cables
of a spider’s web were dusted with gold
by the unreceptacled breeze

From Jacob Polley's Jackself, winner of the 2016 T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry. 

Chair of judges, Ruth Padel, described Jackself as,

'a firework of a book; inventive, exciting and outstanding in its imaginative range and depth of feeling...It’s a sort of autobiography, set in a place called Lamanby, but it’s really like Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast, where everything is strange.

His mastery of phrase and rhythm and the control of line, combined with the hurts of childhood and his glee in inventive language, have taken his writing to a new level.'

One of the most original books of poetry to appear in the last decade, Jackself spins a kind of 'fictionalized autobiography' through the many 'Jacks' of our folklore, legend, phrase and fable - everyman Jacks and no one Jacks, Jackdaw, Jack-O-Lantern, Jack Sprat, Cheapjack and Jack Frost. 


Watch Jacob reading from Jackself.

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