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Cover image:

Pyramid of Men

Attributed to Juste de Juste (ca 1505–1559)

The Lost Songs of Gravity



Isbn 9782919582266 – 2020 – 112 pages – £13 / 14 €

(with essays by Alice Oswald and Anthony Seidman)

After The End of the Trial of Man (2015), in which Paul Stubbs sought to go beyond the imagination with poems based on the paintings of Francis Bacon, this new collection is the search for a planet-less, more elusive deity. In each poem, a new protagonist is forced to struggle with the age-old finite choice of God or no-God, but also with the outcome of that decision causing (potentially) the loss of gravity itself. Thus we encounter poems attempting to reach the theological and philosophical limit of cognition, as Paul Stubbs tussles with and questions the ideas of various thinkers (Simone Weil, Spinoza, Kierkegaard, Duns Scotus, Kant, among others): amid the anthropological and epistemological possibilities of transcending the human condition and our world, the poet seeks to locate a later phase of mankind (if not a new version of it) preparing to wait eternally “for the first true church / to fall from the clouds”.

Everything about the verse is transgressive and brand-new and seemingly home-made. It’s no good tutting over its metrical or grammatical misbehaviour – you must just watch the visions and let the rules remake themselves.”

—Alice Oswald, The Poetry Review

                                              The New Threshold

When man turns away from God, he simply gives himself up to gravity.

Simone Weil


               Today, a weight, floating clear of the lignified,

               unsheathing (prematurely?) the still-salvable

                                             from their celestial cauls...

               (to haul back and make land the true Jerusalem,

               that relic-encrusted meteorite still in full-flight),

               while on a hilltop, too late? in view of a holy frown,

               the carcass of the next planet’s

                                             Christ is taken down.

An interview with Paul Stubbs by Tom Bland

on Spontaneous Poetics (September 2020)

photo Paul - copie.jpg

Paul Stubbs is the author of several poetry collections, and of books of poetical and philosophical essays. Visions de l’outre-monde, a selection of poems translated into French, was published by Hochroth-Paris. His poems and essays have appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies, including The Bitter Oleander, The High Window, The Wolf, The Poetry Review, The Shop, and the French literary magazines Les Carnets d’Eucharis, Nunc,, and Poésie première. He has been invited to read at the National Poetry Library (London), at Oxford University, at the Seamus Heaney Centre, at Kings Lynn Festival, and at various venues in New York and Paris. He also wrote the introductions of various books. He received awards for his writing from the Society of Authors and Arts Council East.


Also by Paul Stubbs

The Carbonized Earth, a study on Arthur Rimbaud, followed by Perfect Little Monster, a play in three acts (2024)

An Anatomy of the Icon / Une anatomie de l'icône (2022)

The Return to Silence (2016)

Flesh (2015)

Ex Nihilo (2010)

Review published in #77 of the French literary magazine Poésie/première (December 2020)


Paul Stubbs, The Lost Songs of Gravity


En 2015, son précédent volume de poèmes, The End of the Trial of Man, affichait en couverture un tableau coloré de Francis Bacon et plaçait la quasi-totalité des poèmes sous l’invocation d’un ou de l’autre de ses tableaux, invoquant aussi à plusieurs reprises un poème précis de W. B Yeats, « The Second Coming », et Rimbaud. Ce tout dernier volume semble emprunter un cheminement tout différent, au moins pour la couverture en noir et blanc, mais on y retrouve la plupart des penseurs qui accompagnent la carrière déjà longue du poète : Simone Weil, Spinoza, Kierkegaard, Duns Scotus et Kant entre autres. Stubbs poursuit son cheminement métaphysique ambitieux, défini en quatrième de couverture comme « the search for a planet-less, more elusive deity », « to reach the theological and philosophical limit of cognition ».

L’ambition du poète explorateur du cosmos de la pensée, au-delà même de l’imagination, demande la participation confiante du lecteur conscient de ce long cheminement en direction de « the first true church / To fall from the clouds » (« La première église véritable / à tomber des nuages »).


« As the holiest, from the last tombs in the universe,

they arise, like Plato’s spies, vacant-eyed, despised:

          but unable to 

          ever be judged. »


« Tandis que les plus saints d’entre tous, des dernières tombes de l’univers,

ils surgissent, tels les espions de Platon, le regard vide, méprisés,

          mais incapables

          d’être à jamais jugés. »


Michèle Duclos



P.S. : Une brève biographie et bibliographie anglaise et française de Paul Stubbs se trouve dans le numéro 29 (printemps 2020) de la revue en ligne ainsi que plusieurs de ses poèmes récents en édition bilingue. Stubbs figure également avec plusieurs de ses poèmes, toujours dans la traduction de Blandine Longre, dans le numéro 71 (sept. 2018) de Poésie /Première, dans le dossier consacré à « W.B. Yeats notre contemporain ? ».

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