In ‘The Wreckage of Dam’ Allsop questions the limits of power, of the ability to articulate absolute fulfilment and apotheosis. What seems a narrative destabilisation of mythic order is caught in the horrific and beautiful undertow of the ocean, dragged down and malformed under the tectonic pressures acting upon any sense of poetic speech. One is left with a torn-open language to examine what it means to search and surrender to an idea of the self utterly given-over to conquering the environment around it, and how misguided such a search may be.
Allsop’s poetry makes a new music which I immediately found scary and compelling, but which reveals new layers on every re-reading. These are substantial poems: salty, dramatic and contemplative, in voices irascible and glacially patient. With such force and conviction of the imagination that it’s like encountering Beckett for the first time. – Luke Kennard
‘The Wreckage of Dam takes us on a voyage to the outer voices. From far horizons we hear them: petitions, prayers, and parleys – or is that how the sirens always sound? There’s an irresistible, headlong urgency to the rhythms; the imagery is incisive, syntax compacted yet magically breathable. You have been warned: “do not say you didn’t sign up for this butchery in fine skin shoes” – and you will be asked: “What innocence can be fished in a world of empires?” - Paul Batchelor