Bonjour Mr Inshaw is a homage by the award-winning poet Peter Robinson to David Inshaw, the celebrated painter, whom he first met during the artist’s years as Creative Arts Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge, in the mid-1970s. Largely produced in an unexpected burst of inspiration after a visit to the painter’s studio early in 2019, these poems combine memories of Inshaw’s paintings, or characteristic landscapes, with experiences of his company and conversation.
Showing a formal flexibility and deftness characteristic of this poet’s work, they reflect on the role of art in a time of political and cultural division. Presented in an en face format, Bonjour Mr Inshaw beautifully illustrates its ekphrastic encounters and allows us to reflect in turn on this contemporary example of the centuries-old dialogue between the arts of poetry and painting.
‘Following the visionary traditions of such quintessentially English predecessors as Samuel Palmer … or Stanley Spencer … Inshaw’s paintings discover the mystical in what could just as easily be overlooked as the mundane.’ – Rachel Campbell-Johnston, art critic for The Times
‘Robinson is the finest poet alive when it comes to the probing of shifts in atmosphere, momentary changes in the weather of the mind, each poem an astonishingly fine-tuned gauge for recording the pressures and processes that generate lived occasions’
– Adam Piette in The Reader
About the author: Peter Robinson was born in Salford, Lancashire, in 1953 and grew up mainly in Liverpool. After teaching for many years in Japan, he returned to Europe in 2007 and is currently Professor of English and American Literature at the University of Reading. The poetry editor for Two Rivers Press, author of many books of poetry, translations, prose fiction, and literary criticism, he has been awarded the Cheltenham Prize, the John Florio Prize, and two Poetry Book Society Recommendations.
Peter Robinson and David Inshaw. Paperback, 200 x 200 mm, 60 pages, January 2020
Listen to Peter Robinson reading ‘After the Visit’, ‘Haunting Landscapes’ and ‘A Woman a Poem a Picture’: