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From the publisher
Julian Turner's Desolate Market takes as its tuning fork a line from William Blake's Vela, or the 4 Zoas: `Wisdom is sold in the desolate market where none come to buy.' Fascinated by the interaction of material and mystical forces, Turner sets up a series of test cases in which the power of the human imagination, and its susceptibility to quasi-mystical influence, are explored. Poems on influencing machines (mind-controlling contraptions housed in the brain, as described by some people experiencing psychosis) double as a critique of the totalitarian dreams of despots. The corrosive influence of the market economy (that other quasi-mystical force), with its power to bring about poverty, redundancy, terrorism, and alienation, is the subject of a later section of poems. The collection ends with the poet's alternative vision of the birth of the cosmos, a `disinterested machine / spinning its great designs of flesh and soul.' Turner's `affecting, memorable and original' poems (TLS) were shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection with Crossing the Outskirts, and his Planet-Struck was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. Desolate Market is his most ambitious and urgent work to date.