This first collection by New Poetries poet and Telegraph poetry editor is at once brilliantly witty in language and formal ambition, and wryly dark in its themes.In Tristram Fane Saunders' first collection, readers encounter a poet whose ingenious forms dazzle, even while exploring darker themes. Drawing on delicious, unconventional rhymes and rhythms, Before We Go Any Further conjures a contemporary London as it maps the ways we try to communicate with each other across real and invented distances. Sphinxes and sea-creatures, sleepwalkers and surrealists visit poems about art and friendship, poems that are 'trying to tilt toward love', but 'can't help tugging/at the invisibly thin/line between true and honest’. They discover wry humour in that struggle.
'Tristram Fane Saunders is a joyfully idiosyncratic new voice in contemporary poetry; cultured, wry, formally adept, and adroitly musical. But what I love most is the deep compassion beneath the play. Many of these poems seek remedy for their suffering beloveds, only to be openly frustrated by their own limitations. These moments of radical kindness and vulnerability completely floored me, and make this a collection to cherish.' - Fiona Benson; 'Before We Go Any Further would be a striking debut on the strength of its formal confidence and original phrasemaking alone; but what separates it from the competition is its shamelessly bold return to a poetry of the imagination, to poetry's old tradition of making it new. These poems see it as their business to make connections, shed light and extend their empathies into the world; that they do so with such originality and flair makes for one of the most purely enjoyable and invigorating first collections I've read in a long time.' - Don Paterson