Longlisted for the Polari Book Prize 2022
Gregory Woods is the leading British critic and historian of gay literature. He has published five previous Carcanet poetry collections, the first being We Have The Melon (1992). Ten years in the making, Records of an Incitement to Silence revisits many of the original themes, but here Woods brings them closer to the endgame.
The sequence of stripped-down, unrhymed sonnets, and the longer poems that accentuate it, suggest a missing narrative: the growth of the individual in a world of upheaval, the search for and loss of love, the formation of memories, the limits of what can truthfully be said, the traces we leave and the chance of their survival.
'One of my creative habits,' Woods writes, 'is the wringing-out of a single form until it's bone dry: the unrhymed sonnets; the monosyllabic syllabics of the long poem "Hat Reef Loud"; the incompatible yoking-together of iambic pentameter and dactylic trimeter in the long poem "No Title Yet".' His formal stringency intensifies the poems' emotional and erotic charge, their celebration and their plaint.