In Arcimboldo’s famous seventeenth-century Mannerist portraits, the sitter’s face is composed of organic matter. In subordinating a mixture of elements into an unrelated whole, imagination can transform the medium of expression itself. Tim Liardet’s Arcimboldo’s Bulldog: New and Selected Poems spans nine of his ten award-winning collections and adds new poems, fresh produce, reconfiguring his life’s work to date.
The book draws on his two T. S. Eliot Prize-shortlisted collections The Blood Choir (2006) and The World Before Snow (2015). Vivid images, large abstractions, symbols, allegory, elegy, provocation, confession and lyric find a necessary place in his work. Arcimboldo’s Bulldog records achievement and includes a promissory note towards his next collection.