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Wildlife of Berlin by Philip Neilsen

Wildlife of Berlin

Judges' Comments 

Neilsen’s well-realised collection comprises poetry at once conversational, philosophical, pressing and wry. Dispersed among many fine confessional poems are more universal concerns. One strength of the book is how the eclectic range of subject matter is woven into a substantial and satisfying whole. The reader travels geographically and historically, encountering the characters of literature and of ancient and modern myth. These disparate voices and situations all come alive in Neilsen’s attentive and empathetic hands.

Ultimately what elevates this collection above others that display great craft is the perceptive, shrewd and intuitive curiosity of the poet. The natural world is a recurring theme, and environmental concerns are at the core of many poems. Though they wear their message lightly, the impact is cumulative. Commonplace, too easy thoughts are challenged as Neilsen invites us, without hectoring, to reconsider what we thought we were sure we knew. A sophisticated and persuasive book.