The Peripheral Life

Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts, Edgelands (Jonathan Cape, 2011), 266 pages, £12.99. Here is a book, lyrical, observant and enchanting. Two English poets travel to different regions in their homeland seeking out a type of landscape and from their discoveries they tease out some of the weird textures of modern living. This new landscape is both utilitarian and outlandish, somehow discomposed and yet occasionally magical. It is also one wilderness supplanting another in fact and in idea. Farley and Roberts examine periphery, that part of country to be found between the edge of the city and the start of…

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