Peterloo Poets

Poetry Publishers 1972 - 2009





Their Perfect Lives



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Poems by John Levett


Their Perfect Lives is the third Peterloo volume by a poet who first came to attention 1982 when he was the recipient of the New Statesman's Prudence Farmer Award judged by Michael Longley. Since then his poetry has appeared in a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Guardian, London Magazine, London Review of Books, New Statesman, Spectator, and Times Literary Supplement. He was joint first prizewinner in the 1991 National Poetry Competition. His two earlier volumes, Changing Sides (1983) and Skedaddle (1987), are still available from Peterloo.

From reviews of Skedaddle

’. . . the poems in Skedaddle are marked by considerable formal skill, robust wit, and a sharp eye for the striking and memorable image. John Levett is developing into a poet of no small stature.’
Simon Rae, Times Literary Supplement

’There's a touch of the Marvell in his urbanity. He writes lucidly in good rhyming stanzas . . . and resonates.’
Herbert Lomasm, London Magazine

’. . . humane, disenchanted . . . he handles rhythm and rhyme with considerable virtuosity.’
Peter Porter, The Observer

’. . . Levett can write and any one of the pieces from this collection could bear witness to that talent as he recalls moments of domestic unquiet and gives meaning and significance to everyday observations.’
Simon Armitage, Orbis

His verse swaggers, coruscates, is witty. Levett places his words with the care of someone completing a mosaic, and produces a heightened diction . . . He is as good a poet as any I know of writing in this country now.’
John Whitworth, Poetry Review


A Long Shot

Lacking a dice my ingenious son
Has made a frail, six-sided paper one.
A lobotomized cube, its hunkered shape
Is sealed with twelve collars of sellotape
And decorated with twenty-one dots
Like orbital, lunar forget-me-nots.
He throws the dice for five, I roll a three
Astonished by its botched geometry,
Its bobbled spin, its solo hit and run
Through house dust turned galactic in the sun.
It lands askew, he gets down on his knees
To focus on the inked astronomies
And breathes in very slowly to address
This momentary perch of randomness;
Our carpet and our sofa that maroons
The hindered odds on six blue paper moons.


Price 7.95 per copy post free (5.30 post free to Associate Members)
Cover illustration: George Tooker, 'The Sleepers III' (1976)
Publication: SPRING 1994 (49 pages laminated paperback)