By Mark Roper

A Gather of Shadow

2012 collection from Mark Roper, balancing personal elegy and celebration of the natural world


Opening and closing with poems that describe what he calls a river’s “breath”, Mark Roper’s new collection is both a significant development of his work as one of the most admired nature poets of his generation, and at the same time a deeply personal record of the loss of his elderly mother. Roper’s trademark clarity of detail and simple, nuanced diction are brought to bear throughout, and the twin presences of death and life, like all great opposites, become so close to each other as to be inseparable. Spare, lyrical and always tender, A Gather of Shadow is a kind of haunting – not by something that is far away or remote, but by the knowledge that might be said to define us as human.

“Although A Gather of Shadow reflects tenderness and loss so powerfully it’s not a heavy read. This isn’t only because several of the poems have light moments. Throughout there is a sense of how much life’s small and large events matter. Mark Roper’s writing sends that shiver down my spine which is the sign of true poetry. His images have become part of my consciousness. What greater praise could I give to this book?”
— Myra Schneider, Acumen

ISBN 978 1 906614 591 Paperback
140 x 216 mm, 58 pp
September 2012

Additional information

Dimensions216 × 140 mm

Product Detail

  • ISBN: : 9781906614591
  • Size: : 216 x 140 mm
  • Pages: : 58 pp
  • Published: : September 2012

About The Author


Mark Roper was born in Derbyshire, England in 1951. His collections include The Hen Ark (Peterloo, 1990), which won the 1992 Aldeburgh Prize for best first collection; Catching The Light (Peterloo, 1997); and The Home Fire (Abbey Press, 1998). Whereabouts was published in 2005 by Abbey Press & Peterloo; Even So: New & Selected Poems by Dedalus Press in 2008. His latest collection, A Gather of Shadow, Dedalus 2012, was shortlisted for The Irish Times Poetry Now Award in 2013 and won the Michael Hartnett Award in 2014. Mark was Editor of Poetry Ireland for 1999. He was the recipient of Arts Council Bursaries in 2010 and 2013. The River Book: A Celebration of the Suir, a collaboration with photographer Paddy Dwan, was published in 2010. A second collaboration with Paddy Dwan, The Backstrand, was published in 2013. The pair are currently at work on a book about the Comeragh Mountains. The Invader, an opera composed by Eric Sweeney to a libretto by Mark Roper, was premiered in Ireland in May 2014. Mark has also worked on many other collaborative ventures. An experienced Creative Writing teacher, he has run courses and workshops in a wide variety of settings. REVIEW EXCERPTS "Small encounters with the ‘natural’ world act as triggers for many of my poems. I’m fascinated in particular by the ways in which we perceive it: what we make of it and what it makes of us, for us, inside us." "The writer he most reminds me of is Norman MacCaig – he is equally capable of the piercing metaphor, the crystallizing phrase that deepens the vision" — John Killick, The North, 2013