Maida Vale, London, UK

The Signalman

By Ezra Miles

Poetry

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The Signalman is Ezra Miles’ debut collection of poems. They coalesce around the poet’s time working in a rural signalbox, the isolation and loneliness falling to an impassioned dialogue with God. At turns both violent and tender, these lyrical poems navigate an ecologically-strained landscape populated by foxes and ghosts. Suffering and beauty sit side by side, as history rotates around personal tragedy, heartbreak and loss. A strange fire burns never far from the surface, its embers blowing across the collection, illuminating the harsh environment and casting long shadows across every face. Who are we, when we’re on our own? And what are we, without each other? The Signalman points us in the right direction.

Ezra Miles is a poet born and raised in Hackney, East London. He is the former Poet in Residence at The Wellcome Collection. His work has been published internationally, appearing in Tears in the Fence, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Cardiff Review and Queen Mob’s Tea House, among other publications. When not writing poems, he works as a railway signalman. Follow him on Instagram @ezramilespoet.

 

The Signalman flashes through the darkness of our broken world in poems that "howl against the penumbra of life." The life of the mind, of devotion, and of the exterior world circulate through the lines of Miles' poems like poetic electricity, alive in their music and vivid description, keeping a light on as "the horizon bleeds / into a thin red rain." I haven't read a book of poems that feels like a book, rather than a disparate collection of separate poems, in years, but The Signalman achieves a cohesion that propelled this reader from one poem to the next with pleasure — an incredible achievement.Joseph Massey, author of Rosary Made of Air

Ezra Miles writes ‘against the penumbra of life’, at the edge of things and their natural energy. Written during an isolating period working in a rural signalbox in Lincolnshire, these poems are those of a saint in hermitage. Threnodic and punctuated with diaristic entries, The Signalman imagines what is beyond our singular existence. - Tom Branfoot, author of I'll Splinter