Invitation to View
The poems in Invitation to View, Peter Scupham's hugely welcome new book, which he was dissuaded from calling 'Curtain Call', often guess and puzzle, offering possible and impossible interpretations. Some respond to fragments of the past, personal and historical, which haunt the present. All business is unfinished business: one can be caught out by a sudden phrase, or the look back of a landscape once seen sporting a different disguise. Invitation to View is framed by poems considering possible visitors to the poet's 400-year-old house long after he and his partner have left it behind; it is haunted by the variety of the efforts and gestures they have made in bringing house and garden alive. Time will do its best to modify and forget all that they leave. Many gestures were theatrical: poetry picnics, productions of Shakespeare... the dead welcomed with the living. Tom Stoppard's words from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead can provide an absent epigraph: 'Look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else.'