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The End of the Trial of Man


Arc Publications, 2015

ISBN 9781908376015

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(Cover image: Francis Bacon, Study after Velázquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X, 1953 © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved. DACS 2015).

“No one is writing like this, or quite like this, or not that I have read recently in the English tongue.”

—Stephen Romer

In this new collection of poems, Paul Stubbs re-imagines a future age of metaphysics, philosophy and post-religious terror; with the tutelary spirit of Francis Bacon hovering above each poem, his paintings as mere starting points, Stubbs brings religion to its base and biological conclusion by charting, among other figures, the ‘rough beast’ of Yeats en route still to Bethlehem. The religious protagonists in this book, such as the pope, the apostate and the ascetic, are all forced, through a crisis of faith, to take on new spiritual contortions, as the poet relocates them to the newly envisioned terrains of his mind. In this ground-breaking collection, amid the ‘not–quite’ anatomies of Stubbs’ distinctive imagination, we encounter ‘the final theological / drift of the peoples of / the faiths.’

"Everything about the verse is transgressive and brand-new and seemingly home-made. It’s no good tutting over its metrical or grammatical misbehaviour – you must just watch the visions and let the rules remake themselves”.

Alice Oswald
The Poetry Review (Volume 105:2 Summer 2015).

a review by Anthony Seidman, Entropy magazine, May 28, 2015

'Readers familiar with such long masterpieces by Stubbs as Ex Nihilo have become familiar with the taut and searing intelligence in his poetry. His poems often appear in open sequences or long pieces, and the characteristics they share most with each other is the same piercing intelligence that examines a question or obsession from multiple perspectives, often simultaneously. Indeed, the poems make one think of the worm-gear, that screwdriver turning in and around its self. Yet Stubbs has developed a voice of his own. No one around today has poems that even look like his on the printed page, nor possessing the insistency on crafting poems that are very often interior / dramatic monologues from the most wildly idiosyncratic constellation of voices, be it a man-God returning to nothingness, or, as in The End of the Trial of Man, the Beast of Yeats, an Apostate, or The Ugliest Man, The Higher Man, and The Second Birth of Man, as in “The Three Final Phases of Perdition,” an extremely strong poem in this new collection.'

To read the full review:


An act of failure:

An interview of Paul Stubbs by Paul Sutton, Stride Magazine, 2015

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