“Randomly Moving Particles”

Andrew Motion’s “Randomly Moving Particles” is, in many ways, a quite remarkable tour de force of free verse; indeed, it is so ‘free’ that I am reminded of the narrative qualities of Robin Robertson’s award-winning “The Long Take”. Nowhere is the power of his work more in evidence than in ‘How Do the Dead Walk’, the longest piece in this collection; within that, the first section – ‘The Fire Pit’ – is stunning.

Motion achieves a lyrical quality to this narrative (because ‘How Do the Dead Walk’ is primarily a narrative) that always prevents it slipping into poorly camouflaged prose; and given he does so whilst maintaining the heartbeat of the story – a gripping, gruesome, supernatural tale – is testament to his talents in keeping us safe on the poetry-prose tightrope, preventing us from falling off.

Very different, and quite possibly exceptional…