The Wrecking Light - Robin Robertson

The Wrecking Light

Picador, 2010
Anansi, Toronto, 2010
Mariner, New York, 2011

Shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Forward Prize for Best Collection, the Costa Poetry Award and the Poetry category of the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book Awards. ‘At Roane Head’ was awarded the 2010 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem.


‘There’s an oneiric charge and intensity to many of these poems that builds to a fabular clarity of thought, which is at once precise in its particularity and placeless. Whether in his extraordinarily fresh renderings of Ovid or his own imaginings, Robertson’s lines have the luminosity of myth. The Wrecking Light is a work of extraordinary visionary power, its music bleak and beautiful, spare and unsparing. If there were justice in the world, it would win every prize going.’
Adam Newey, Guardian

‘The poet Robin Robertson’s The Wrecking Light is my favourite Scottish book of the year: thunderingly powerful and as peaty as Laphroaig.’
Nick Barley, Scotland on Sunday Books of the Year

‘In poem after marvellous poem, Robertson creates a series of elusive identities… Fantastical transformations occur throughout the collection; the most astounding one is in the masterful “At Roane Head”, where a re-envisioning of a selkie legend throws up a remarkably moving poem… The Wrecking Light is wholly convincing and the poems are written with a cold, exacting and imaginative awe… It’s still early in the year, but this surely will be one of the outstanding collections of 2010.’
Paul Perry, Irish Times

‘An impressive addition to one of the most powerful bodies of work on the contemporary scene… The intensity and seriousness with which Robertson pursues his poetic vocation bear comparison with the magisterial figure of Robert Lowell.’
David Cooke, Poetry London

‘Robin Robertson’s latest work, The Wrecking Light, published this week in the UK, simply astonishes. Twice, I’ve read it; twice, I’ve gone places and found traces I’d never believed I’d witness in (and out of) this world we word-workers consider the flight of poetry… Yet, this magnificently wry playfulness simply scratches The Wrecking Light’s luminous surface, particularly when aligned with the miraculous “Lesson”, perhaps one of the most perfect poems created in the 21st century… Breathtaking, utterly and heartbreakingly breathtaking . . .’
Globe and Mail