dam Thorpe is a longsighted poet, at home with the ancient and the modern, and with an extraordinary field of vision. In this first-class collection – which repays rereading – he turns a searchlight back to the ice age (in Bolzano, Italy) and to ancient Rome (where he walks in the shoes of Suetonius) and looks back, too, at the English language... Sometimes Thorpe’s vocabulary can detain you (he is to language what a botanist is to flowers). Reading The Alarm, I had to look up gryke (fissure between blocks of limestone), vambrace (piece of armour for the forearm) and plackart (I’m still not sure what it means). It is encouragingly clear that language will not dwindle on Adam Thorpe’s watch. But what will survive of us – if his poems are to be believed – is nothing as consoling as love.