And Then the Rain Came–Edward Ragg
Edward Ragg won the 2012 Cinnamon Press Poetry Award with his debut collection was A Force That Takes (2013). His second volume, Holding Unfailing (2017), charted the rise of modern China, whilst Exploring Rights (2020) confronted ‘post-truth’ culture and the prospects of humankind’s survival. And Then the Rain Came turns to love, physical and mental geographies, well-being and the vitality of the present. Set against the backdrops of the global pandemic and climate crisis, each poem embraces present perception in the awakening motif of rain.
Listen to two poems from And Then the Rain Came recorded at the online launch in April 2022:
At the Wedding of Water
Albaldah by Night
The manifestations and properties of water are excitingly explored in Edward Ragg’s new collection. Here are living poems where narrative and lyric work together to contemplate the energies implicit in water. The intriguing emphases laid upon the meanings of the word ‘present’ give a unique edge to the poems. Glass, tears, ice, rivers, wine, salinity, tides: all these elements are woven into the texture of this collection, where the illuminations and fluidities of language are beautifully captured.
In his latest volume Edward Ragg weaves together two deft poetic sequences as a tribute to the power of water and the yearning water can evoke. From the shadows of Durham Cathedral to the Chinese water-town of Tongli, water in this collection is the long-promised rain, the speckled pattern on a window and dew evaporating to a new day. Framed within the challenges of navigating the world in the Covid era, this is a book to read, keep and cherish.
Nothing To Be Done
What are we to do about yearning?
Yearning, desire: which are not the same.
Yearning after desire. Rain spreads
across the windowpane. How many
hours have I lost to this? Another’s desire.
She feels for me in the Shanghai night
as I observe this Durham afternoon
feeling her. Nothing to be done:
which is not the same as doing nothing
or saying ‘We can do nothing, my love’.
We can. Rain percussive on tiles and panes.
Yearning is that desire which can
never be answered… Do not answer, love.
Nothing to be done. Love (persistently) quiet.
How the light rain of my desire falls all night.
Edward Ragg was born in Stockton-on-Tees in 1976 and since 2007 has lived in Beijing. He was a joint-winner of the 2012 Cinnamon Press Poetry Award and A Force That Takes was his first collection, followed by Holding Unfailing. and Exploring Rights. His poems have appeared in numerous international magazines and anthologies, including the 2014 Forward Book of Poetry (Faber & Faber, 2013), Lung Jazz: Young British Poets for Oxfam (Eyewear Publishing/Cinnamon Press, 2012), Jericho & Other Stories & Poems (Cinnamon Press, 2012) and New Poetries IV (Carcanet, 2007). He is also the author of a number of critical works and articles on wine. Edward is the co-founder of Dragon Phoenix Wine Consulting.