Co-published with De La Salle University Publishing House, Philippines.
These poems - or verse-essays - reflect many aspects of the author's longstanding philosophical, literary and musical interests. Deploying a variety of formal schemes they are strikingly diverse in subject-matter yet closely related in other ways. Their topics range from Nietzsche's tormented last years to Cardinal Newman's dog and from Philip Larkin as an unlikely test case for Lacanian psychoanalysis to Alan Turing's war-work and its tragic aftermath. Other poems weave a complex thematic counterpoint around the melancholy tale of Kant's premature mental decline and the sad-comic saga of Heidegger's voyage to Greece in quest of first-hand authentification for his understanding of ancient Greek thought and its legacy.
Elsewhere Norris takes his cue from the composer Richard Strauss's intensely melancholy late work Metamorphosen as an oblique commentary on issues of music, history, and politics. Several pieces have to do with false yet destructive conflicts such as those between body and soul, life and work, or literary content and form. The volume also includes a verse-essay treating themes from the work and episodes from the life of Ludwig Wittgenstein, in particular his ambivalent (for the most part very negative) attitude to Shakespeare.
Taken together, these pieces make a strong case for poetry - or one kind of poetry - as a medium wherein the exploration of formal possibilities goes along with the exploration of intellectually challenging and humanly significant themes.