The Star in the Branches


Through fragmented visions and memories, James Peake’s second collection, The Star in the Branches, seamlessly distils the past, the starkness of contemporary life, and premonitions of the future, to create an introspective – yet also transportive – portrayal of the fractured times we find ourselves living in. — LILY SEARSTONE, Wild Court

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The Star in the Branches, James Peake’s second collection, is an intense and heartfelt examination of memory, how it pains and consoles, deepens and shrinks, is both equal to, and less than, the objects and people who come to reside there. At either end of the book are the disappearances of loved ones: a parent succumbing to dementia, and a school friend lost to more voluntary forms of forgetting.

Elsewhere are poems of erotic love, big city loneliness, and the boon and burden of family, poems of praise in which the spiritual and the tangible are not remote but intimate. From the ancient quarries of Naxos to the electronica of Aphex Twin, these highly distinctive poems celebrate the unique wherever they find it.

Praise for Reaction Time of Glass (2019):

‘… strikingly different from the usual because the life of the poem rests not on the occasion but on the poetical figures (simile, metaphor) which it attracts, and which project its message out into a much larger arena than a show of ironies or comforts’—The Fortnightly Review

‘The acid, lucid visions at the heart of this terrific debut are more than capable of holding to the shape of whatever the world throws at them’—The London Magazine

‘Peake’s poems … show us different ways of seeing’—Raceme

James Peake. Paperback, 72 pages, 210 x 135 mm, February 2022.


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