Lemn Sissay – Gold from the Stone (4 stars)

Lemn Sissay – Gold from the Stone

A collection of the poet's best-loved works which spans 30 years

Lemn Sissay's poetry is ingrained in the fabric of British culture, his words appearing regularly on our TV screens and airwaves, buildings and pavements, meant for widespread public – and not just elite – consumption. Gold from the Stone is a collection of new and old works, detailing his incredible and heartbreaking journey from a childhood of loneliness, abandonment and abuse in care homes to becoming one of the country's finest and most cherished voices.

There is a sense of otherness that runs through many of the poems selected from his earlier publications, with clear anger and passion attached to his discussions of family, home and identity, as seen in the touching 'Suitcases and Muddy Parks'. Elsewhere, hope and messages of resolve shine through, for example in 'Belong' and 'Adventure Flight', the latter written for the 2015 FA Cup Final. The performative element to his poetry is evident but no vibrancy or emotion is lost on paper, where his honesty, charm and humour prevail.

Gold from the Stone maps Sissay's development as a poet and writer but also his many personal triumphs, even when the odds were stacked against him.

Gold from the Stone is out now published by Canongate.

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