This is a book that I can’t recommend highly enough… The Grail Roads is a beautiful piece of work, a masterpiece. Charlie Connelly on The Grail Roads for The New European, October 2018
The poems in The Grail Roads inhabit a mythical continuous past which hangs over the WWI battlegrounds… A fine, risk-taking and thoughtful book. Jane Routh in The North 64, August 2020
The Grail Roads is the third full-length poetry collection by Rob Hindle. A beautifully produced 144-page hardback, it is available from Longbarrow Press for £12.99. You’ll also receive a free copy of the colour-themed pamphlet The Rose of Temperaments (featuring poems by Angelina D’Roza, A.B. Jackson, Chris Jones, Geraldine Monk, Helen Mort and Alistair Noon). You can order the book securely by clicking on the relevant PayPal button above. Click on the links at the top of this page to read poems from the book. The Grail Roads was Highly Commended for the 2019 Forward Prizes.
Out in the Channel, the dead water
shines like melted wax. Behind in the dark
is England; ahead in the dark, France
and everything untold.
The ribbon of land that runs through north-west France and into Flanders is always being turned over. Each year, the ploughs of French and Belgian farmers uncover shrapnel, bullets, barbed wire and artillery shells; an ‘iron harvest’ that takes in the jumbled debris of the Hundred Years’ War, the Napoleonic Wars, and, in particular, the First World War.
The Grail Roads digs deep into the cultural strata of these conflicts, and is haunted by their correspondences and echoes, from Agincourt to Arras. The poems reimagine the ‘quest’ of Galahad, Gawain, and other knights of Arthurian legend, displaced from their familiar mythology and recast as British soldiers on the Western Front. As the war turns attritional, the vision of the Grail darkens; one by one, the men are gathered into a dream of ‘a first and final home’ beyond the wrecked landscapes.
The Grail Roads is a story of loss and reclamation, estrangement and fellowship, in which we read the human cost, and human scale, of every journey and battle.
Listen to Rob Hindle introduce and read poems from The Grail Roads at the Centre for Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, University of Sheffield, 1 May 2019.
Click here to read ‘The Iron Harvest’, a new Longbarrow Blog post by Rob Hindle, reflecting on the development of The Grail Roads and its ‘archaeology of sources’.
Rob Hindle is the author of several collections of poetry, including Some Histories of the Sheffield Flood 1864 (2006), Neurosurgery in Iraq (2008), The Purging of Spence Broughton, a Highwayman (2009) and Yoke and Arrows (2014). Five long poems and sequences, collectively titled Flights and Traverses, appear in the Longbarrow Press anthology The Footing (2013). The Grail Roads is his first full collection with Longbarrow Press.
Photo credit: Karl Hurst