THE SIMPLE MEN
For David Troupes' author page, please click here.
We're delighted to announce that a poem from this collection was Highly Commended in the Forward Prize and published in the Forward Book of Poetry 2013. Judges were Leonie Rushforth, Emma Hogan, Ian McMillan, Alice Oswald and Megan Walsh.
The Simple Men is the second full collection of poetry from David Troupes, an American poet living in West Yorkshire. He applies an assured, eccentric craftsmanship to innovative forms and ambitious insights. The poems of The Simple Men range over hills and down rivers, through truck stop diners and wedding parties, renewing at every turn our relationship with land, love and the self.
Praise for The Simple Men
‘The Simple Men, David Troupes’ second collection, is a real gem: a gritty, lyrical hymn to the conjunction of nature and humanity. He has the sharp eye of the artist and sees through to the essence of things in vivid, stunningly spare images. He brings us up so close to the world in all its hardness and beauty that we almost feel its breath.
But there is no room for complacency or sentimentality in his work – this is real nature – nature described in all its wonderful complexity and stubbornness. As he puts it himself, this is ‘no place for phony conjurings’. The ‘Simple Men’ sequence, which runs through the collection, leavens it with a celebratory, spiritual core that is starkly optimistic. Troupes has an engaging ability to find beauty equally portioned in backwoods or roadside diner. The carefulness and intelligence of his writing ensures this is a collection to treasure.’ John Glenday
Praise for Parsimony (Troupes' first collection)
A poetry of watchfulness, of immersion in wilderness and commune with the wild, David Troupes’ fine début is marked by an intensely focused inquisitiveness, delineating landscapes, shifting seasons and their creatures in a meticulous, sparing style, all filtered through a wonderfully lyrical sensibility.’ Robert Alan Jamieson
‘If “parsimony” is often equated with meanness, David Troupes reclaims its virtues – “praiseworthy economy in the use of means to pursue an end”, as my dictionary puts it. That’s a good description of Troupes’ poetic method – a sparingness with words that takes him to the heart of things. While there are moments of discovery, joy and celebration, this is no paradise – too many storms, droughts, predators and depressions – and any consolations are hard-won. What warmth there is, is created by the living beings themselves, and one of Troupes’ most striking images is that of the skunk cabbage, with its deep contractile roots and the ability to thaw frosts. Many poems are addressed to another, an intimate, creating a sense of solidarity both in and against the world. There is also a sense, properly veiled, of the sacred – a sense of wonder, and mystery too, for these poems don’t instantly yield their meanings. Formally confident, Troupes can pull off both conventional rhymes and unconventional line-breaks, and execute the most startling of shifts with his deft similes.’ Ken Cockburn
'Evokes a powerful sense of landscape ... These are spare, sharply focused poems written with great sssurance and control and an often miraculous clarity ... The abiding impression is of poise and sensitivity informed by a searching intelligence. An impressive new voice.'
AC Clarke, The Edinburgh Review
About David Troupes
David Troupes grew up in Massachusetts, holds degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the University of Edinburgh, and now lives with his wife in West Yorkshire. His first book of poems, Parsimony, was published by Two Ravens Press in 2009, and his other work includes the online comic Buttercup Festival, publications from Knucker Press, critical work on Ted Hughes, and collaborations with illustrator Laurie Hastings and composer Joel Rust. When he’s not writing, drawing or working, he’s walking.
An extract from The Simple Men
We were a long time getting there,
an eight-hour succession of highways
past hayfields and pinewoods, potato country,
blink-and-miss-them towns rich
only in poverty, a great
weathergray barn in the middle of its century-
slow ooze down the hillside,
the old God-lump of Katahdin
saluting as we passed, until what we call America
became what we call Canada,
though we weren’t heading that far, but instead
doubled back south, driven now
by the outfitter, the old-timer,
down seventy miles of dirt logging road
deep into the Great North Woods where
like a bird on its eggs
Maine waited—somewhere in the healing mess
of what we did, in the pollen haze
as evening cooled—waited somewhere
under the cloud-rinds as we launched
ourselves into the golden river
and the pace of the unhurried Allagash became
the pace of everything—waited
as daylight lingered in the treetops and we found
not fifteen minutes into it
a female moose and her calf wading the warm
stone-shallow waters, calmly nosing for their meal—
the time they took to raise their heads
and weigh us up and walk into the dark weave
of the forest—my God,
the time they took—