• ROS BARBER’S remarkable book about Christopher Marlowe is many things. It is a historic novel, an interesting if contentious theory and a mystery.

      It is also a collection of poems, many of which, when dipped into, stand up perfectly well by themselves, quite independently of the story which they tell. The entire book is written in blank verse; non-rhyming iambic pentameter.

    • Marlowe, her subject, is a poet and playwright who is possessed of a doomed rock star glamour straight from Central Casting. He is an elizabethan Jim Morrison of sorts.
    • The tantalising thing about Christopher Marlowe is that there is enough evidence to suggest that he might have been a contender for the authorship of Shakespeare’s work yet not quite enough to confirm that he definitely was. Whether, however, the Bard did or did not write those works credited to him has been debated inconclusively.
    • Not least in the book, however, is Ros Barber’s poetry. In Burying The Moor she writes: An April night. A distant bell tolled ten. The cobbles glittered recent rain; the elms fringing the church shook drips from newborn leaves.Chilled moonlight traced a figure at the gate that turned out to be you.

      This is effortlessly better stuff than many far more trumpeted poets can produce, even on a good day.

    • For me, The Marlowe Papers is the best read, so far, this year.

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