Gesture & Counterpoints

Gesture & Counterpoints

By John Mole

Price: £10.00

ISBN: 978-1-910323-76-2

135mmx210mm, paperback, 118pp

John Mole’s most recent publications are The Point of Loss (Enitharmon) and  Treatment  (Shoestring Press) which recounts the side-effects of chemotherapy with ‘more power and reality than any information leaflet could ever testify to.’ (The Lancet). He has received the Gregory and Cholmondeley Awards, and the Signal Award for his poems for children which Charles Causley welcomed in the TES as ‘the work of a true poet.’ A keen musician, he has worked as a librettist with several composers, including Bob Chilcott, and plays regularly as a jazz clarinettist.

John Mole is one of the best poets of his generation. His deep, unshowy devotion to his art is matched by subtlety of wit and capacity for feeling not often found in tandem, though they are characteristically present throughout his new collection, which ends with a sequence of poems written during the later stages of his wife Mary Norman’s illness and after her death in September 2016. For many years the couple combined as poet and illustrator, and the cover design of Gestures and Counterpoints incorporates ‘Rain’, a print that occasioned the poem ‘Downpour’.

‘John Mole builds clean structures of love, pain and longing which do that most difficult thing – move us at the most human level by an assurance free from both sentimentality and defensive irony’ – Peter Scupham, PN Review

‘His technique is not unlike that of the 1960s miniaturists, in that he hopes to load his slight scenes with mystery, but he bothers more than they did to set each one in its realistic place. A light pun and a quiet metaphor leave the reader with a sense of the depth beneath both human love and the contrivance of verse.’ – Peter Porter, The Observer

‘John Mole has the virtue praised in an earlier Heaney poem, ‘A Daylight Art’, of practising his right art from the start and persevering in it. This book ( Depending on the Light ) adds to Mole’s complement of some of the most engaging English poems of the past quarter century.’ – Bernard O’Donoghue, Times Literary Supplement

Read the London Grip review here.

From The Tablet, 9th December, “Books of the Year”

‘John Mole’s Gestures and Counterpoints distils courage from calamity, his own cancer, and the death of his
wife Mary: the sequence ‘Frailties’ is full of exact observation, as in the glimpse of ageing hands under an air dryer, a “septuagenarian blur/of ripple and flap”. – Eamon Duffy