Assault on the Clouds

Assault on the Clouds

By John Hartley Williams

Price: £9.00

ISBN: 978 1 907356 47 6

Buy from: Shoestring Press (mail/cheque order only),

John Hartley Williams is one of the great originals of contemporary English poetry, “the lord of misrule,” according to one commentator, who comes “to rage through the tranquil groves of English poetry.” Assault on the Clouds is set on Arboa, an island of inaccessible peaks, bottomless ravines, divisive religions, burgeoning clouds, torrential rain and endless warfare. Explorers arriving in infinity machines encounter a philosopher, a poet, a painter, a general, an emperor and empress, and a retinue of geishas. What possible connection can there be between this imaginary place and the world each reader knows?

See a review by Stride Magazine.

“…a powerful political satire, not far from the vitriolic anger of Swift. A blistering read for a time in dire need of creative blistering.”
– William Bedford, The Warwick Review

“I loved the sheer inventiveness and wit of his narrative, but Williams is a technical virtuoso who knows that keeping the reader’s attention depends as much on stylistic surprise as on narrative twists. (I was) sometimes provoked into thinking how close the world of Arboa comes to the worlds of Communist East Germany or North Korea, or even to our own Capitalist world, (but) Williams gives no hint of intending to prompt such serious thoughts; his comic mask never cracks.”
– Edmund Prestwich, The North

“Arboa, the island on which the action in this strange and intriguing collection is set, could almost be an extension of Gulliver’s Travels. This is poetry which is as entertaining as it is sharp-edged, energetic and playful as well as satirical and surreal. Wonderful stuff. Williams is one of our very best poets working in English and on the evidence of this collection I’m looking forward to reading his next.”
– Steve Spence, Stride