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PROCESSING THINGS

Michael A Arnold

"To me they are two separate worlds:
cities of people and man-made stars,
the country with lingering gods —
one poorly reflects the other."

Processing Things is the first collection of poetry by Michael A. Arnold, a young poet from England's most northern county. Starting with a return home to a landscape full of memories, these poems, set in the poet's native Northumberland, explore the themes and anxieties at the heart of modern life, and tries to find some sense in them.

Tracing the development of the poet's mind over the course of a single year, questions about creativity, nature and our treatment of it, happiness, death, our increasing reliance on technology and difference between meaning and belief are all confronted and explored in a number of ways, while ideas, mythology, philosophy and history start to intertwine. Along the way, the focus moves around in time and place: from great wildernesses to quiet villages along pleasant country lanes, from cold and rainy cities to the warmth of the Mediterranean, from the present day to distant memories, from the ghosts of history to the horrors of war and reality to fantasy.

While some poems, such as `What Nubbed Treasure,' 'Sleepless Drive and Polonius' Dilemma' consider the act and art of writing and Harold Bloom's idea of anxiety of influence, other poems such as `Pass the Heartless Day' and `A Fox, Hunting' look at how humans have shaped and moulded the natural world to our purposes, ignoring the effect these changes have made to the world, it is often the more existential, abstract questions that keep being returned to as the poet tries to process the things around him.

 
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MICHAEL A. ARNOLD

Poetry

Michael A. Arnold is a graduate of the University of Sunderland and Northumbria University. He is based in North East England, and has previously published essays and short fiction. His influences include Seamus Heaney and Robert Frost.