The Dances of Albion: A Poetic Topography, by John Milbank

From John Milbank, The Dances of Albion: A Poetic Topography (Shearsman Books; March 2015).

[Purchase: Shearsman |]

Publication description:

Since I come from all over the island of Britain, it is to me my locality in the world, as much as it is my nation. Of the perplexing variety of this region, I try to make sense. Throughout the island I experience landscapes that tend to evaporate, mingling with myths that loom into a persistent reality. The resulting psychogeographies are for me many, though also problematically linked and integrated. This poetic sequence is written in the hope of a true unity of Britain yet to come.

Praise for The Dances of Albion:

“Milbank is an important theologian and a dazzling public thinker, and in this book he emerges as a poet of real consequence too. His poetry has the intellectual ardour and the visionary reach that we might have expected, but it is also passionately musical, and deeply intimate.” —Patrick Mackie

“In his third collection of poems, John Milbank continues his ‘diagonalizing’ negotiations with horizontal/vertical, finite/infinite patterns and abutments, while sieving through dense local correlations of the ‘matter of Britain’. These poems take us, via ‘lands of indecision’ through ‘strange oases’ to ‘unexpected heights’, retracing the gesta of Pembrokeshire, Kent, East Anglia, Yorkshire and Northumberland, or those of West Saxons, Jutes, Mercians, Picts and Gaels. Such poetry finds a ‘sufficient remnant’ that can be brought to predict a healed modernity ‘amid right conjunctions’ even though ‘decisive history remains obscure, except through haunts of poetic darkness’. Just as Milbank as theologian insists there is no theology not still speculatively philosophical, here he shows us a visionary theology simultaneously making poetic inroads by which ‘yearnings outlast all understandings’.” —Peter Larkin

Read a sample of The Dances of Albion here [PDF].

[Purchase: Shearsman |]



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(Sculpture by Sara Cunningham-Bell)

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