Palace of Oblivion by Peter Davidson
Baroque in its extravagance of language, in its delight in the bizarre and the prodigious, Peter Davidson's collection is a cabinet of curiosities, a world of ruined palaces, ghostly gardens and the fragile marvels of a secret past. It moves between languages and continents, English and Latin, the Spanish Netherlands and Spanish America, the Mediterranean and the north. The title sequence evokes a half-known, half-fantastic, seventeenth century; a shorter sequence transforms contemporary England through the eyes of a spy. The collection ends with a group of elegies and epistles concerned with place and history in northern Scotland. Erudite and witty, "The Palace of Oblivion" is about remembering and inventing out of memory, and provides haunting visions of decay and splendor.