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   Flowers of Sulphur

       Enitharmon Press, 2007:   £8.95   ISBN: 978-1-904634-37-9

To order Flowers of Sulphur, contact Enitharmon by clicking here:

or contact Mario at mmpetrucci@hotmail.com

Over a decade in the making, Flowers of Sulphur marks a fresh phase in Petrucci's engagement with the fundamentals of human existence. Disarmingly various, these remarkable new poems alert us to the resistance, as much as to the malleability, of language and life. They reconcile - like the quantum world they reflect - apparently paradoxical qualities, combining clarity and complexity, fusing science with psyche, in forms as precise as they are compelling. Pungent with experience, here is a poetry that, moment to moment, reinvents itself so as to unsettle - and inspire.

"Impressive in its strength, energy and tenderness. A fine synthesis of deeply felt personal experience and the wonders and exactitudes of science."
Moniza Alvi

"Crammed with observed and felt detail: as with the best poets, thinking and feeling are, for Petrucci, a single act. And at the core of these poems lie questions about the nature of the individual self and its loves, melancholy yet celebratory, full of energy."
George Szirtes

"Sheer verve, insight and accomplishment. So much intelligence and alertness."
Michael Hulse

"Flowers of Sulphur displays the extraordinary variety of this poet: his scientific and political commitments, his sharply physical response to the world of the senses, his unsentimental embrace of facts of life and behaviour. In his tireless probing of memory, he brings the strength of belief to the art – the belief that poetry can crack open the kernel of meaning inside our experience. There is a quality of devotion in Petrucci’s writing that is humane, small-c catholic, exemplary. Flowers of Sulphur is an inspiriting, bracing book."
The Warwick Review

"Wonderfully adroit, clever, and naturally touching... brings language clashing like tectonic plates. The Geoffrey Hill-like (not Heaneyesque) punning on vernacular to straighten a momentous truth is one reward of the pressures of this latest volume, where trope and a dark playfulness have placed Petrucci in the line of wit that intensifies from Empson through Hill like a cloud chamber. The small justices of bio-chemical process, enacted over enormous stretches of time, has pointed the Petruccian wit more sharply than perhaps any poet... No-one since Michael Hofmann... or the early Carol Ann Duffy, has so consistently, and gratifyingly, used their pitchfork. It should finally, belatedly, establish him as a major poet of his generation."
Simon Jenner, Waterloo Press 2008

Poetry enters the battle against Global Warming

"As freak weather bombards our shores, politicians around the world are waking up to the very real threat of Climate Change. New and difficult questions are being asked. How do we prepare for a rise in sea levels? Can we reduce our energy use? What about the US, China and India? And even: is nuclear power the answer?

Into this context comes Flowers of Sulphur, the remarkable new collection of poetry by award-winning writer, environmentalist and scientist Mario Petrucci. As poetry's de facto spokesperson for science and the environment, Petrucci is an outspoken critic of nuclear energy. His recent collection Heavy Water: A Poem for Chernobyl was adapted for film by Seventh Art Productions. The result, Half Life: A Journey to Chernobyl, won the main prize at this year's Cinequest Film Festival and was broadcast on Sky Arts."

Penned in the Margins, 2007.

Flowers of Sulphur was published in July 2007 by Enitharmon Press.

Click here... for sample audio from Flowers of Sulphur, courtesy of Archive of the Now.


Or you, father, pointing down to a Sicilian harbour –
its dark pincers compressing an eye-glass
of water

Or my skin, watered down by a lifetime out of your sun
yet thick and dark through our blood’s long curing
in white light

Or your silhouette, insect-strange on the black breast
of a Northumbrian hill, our kinship of shape lost
in the white flood-down
of summer

Or that sequoia glade whose green we drank: a tall glass
where dark sank as heavier spirits do, and stirred leaves
made a white effervescence
of sunlight

Or you, black and white, slumped in that wicker chair
mourning your father, steeped in a kitchen’s shadowless
fluorescence, toe-caps scuffed grey
by the glare

Or rain, elsewhere, as white horizons laddered with dark –
rain as fault-lines slanting the light – till, here, resolve
the first cold drops, steaming on your curved
back of earth

        (c) Mario Petrucci 2007


copyright mario petrucci 2001