Rupert Brooke

Andrew Motion pays tribute to his poetic mentors

Andrew Motion has previously published a memoir of childhood, In the Blood (2006), but this new book focuses on his becoming a poet, his search for mentors and subsequent writing life. Motion, a country boy, has a Words-worthian bent, and talks about the pull of evocative recollections, already hardening when he entered adulthood, as ‘equivalent to the songs of the Sirens’, explicitly ‘spots of time’. He is, as one might expect, good on poetry’s general appeal – ‘ it prizes compression and distillation in a world of deliquescence’ – and perceptive on the root cause of its lure for him. The appeal of ‘falling in love with a dead man’