John Wilkinson's Down to Earth is his darkest work to date: a disturbing road poem of the American mid-West, an epic of migration, an examination of w-ubiquitous borders, and a meteorological tour of our growing energy crises. Global and internal flows of capital, consumer products, waste, labour and body parts all shape its contorted map of the 21st century. Narrative poems echoing traditional forms, are intercut with damaged and damaging lyrics; these various styles have their analogues in the sculpture several passages praise and deprecate. In addition, Down to Earth incorporates an extended homage to Artemis of Ephasus. Wilkinson's book forms one single thematically-interrelated poem, and although its materials are bleak, the book's caesura-driven prosody hours the hopes and courage of the people involved in mass migration and local struggles. Like every book by John Wilkinson, Down to Earth kws limit to poetry's ambition, dodging every border post, down every highway, like the ocelot running through its narratives, and struggling to create a sheltering place in often pitiless landscapes.
John Wilkinson is an English poet living in Chicago and teaching at the University of Chicago following a career in mental health services in the UK. He has published six collections of poetry with Salt and a collection of critical essays, mainly on recent British poetry. His most recent book of poetry is Reckitt's Blue from Seagull Books.