The Reasoner

Jeffrey Wainwright, The Reasoner (Carcanet, 2012)

Times Higher Education

16 May 2013

I’m not one for self-consciously intellectual verse, but this isn’t that. Rooted in the everyday stuff of existence, it’s a series of meditations on the discrepancy between words and world which revitalises our most common clich├ęs and in doing so offers a sustained defamiliarisation of experience. Like King Lear, Wainwright’s ‘reasoner’ is someone driven to take upon himself the mystery of things, and the result is deeply affecting. This is a volume which I’d recommend to the very people who might be put off by its title.