The Return to Silence – Paul STUBBS

and other poetical essays
Paul Stubbs

Black Herald Press, December 2016
138 pages – 12 € – isbn 978-2-919582-16-7


pour commander l’ouvrage / to order the book



Cover image: still from the film Late and Deep © Devin Horan 2011.


‘For nearly two decades (or perhaps millennia) Paul Stubbs has been engaged in the task of imagining what lies beyond the imagination…there is no guardrail to this kind of project, no literary guide or physical limit, only exploration.’
—Alice Oswald (The Poetry Review)

In The Return to Silence, Paul Stubbs’ first collection of poetical essays, we find him tussling with Baruch Spinoza, Friedrich Hölderlin, Simone Weil, Arthur Rimbaud, Yves Bonnefoy, and E. M. Cioran, thinkers and writers whose own struggles with silence evoke the very silence this author seeks himself to return to. Whether for the mystic, the philosopher or the poet, silence is life’s most inescapable accompaniment and, by virtue of what speaks most deeply of the ineffable presence of the soul, its purest. Thus each of these essays re-directs the reader beyond despair or hope, to reach an eschatological prolepsis, an anticipation of a life lived always on the extreme though invisible edge of the world; that is while thinking always against the contemporary thought of the day. And as such in each essay we find, after the demise of the idea of burdensome selfhood, Søren Kierkegaard’s ‘single individual’, he or she who is forced, in every century, to arrive at the most absurd and paradoxical stage of life when, having passed fearlessly into the unknown, and at the cost of their own personal discipleship, they are isolated in the presence of God and, perhaps as an eternal consequence, become even more of an independent force in this world.


Paul Stubbs is the author of three poetry collections published in Great Britain—The Theological Museum (Flambard, 2005), The Icon Maker (Arc, 2008), and The End of the Trial of Man (Arc, 2015)—and of two long poems, Ex Nihilo and Flesh (Black Herald Press, 2010, 2013). His poems have appeared in a variety of magazines, including The Bitter Oleander, The High Window, The Wolf, Poetry Review, The Shop, and the French literary magazines Les Carnets d’Eucharis and Nunc. He is also the author of a book of essays on Arthur Rimbaud, The Carbonized Earth. His forthcoming poetry collection, The Lost Songs of Gravity, is partly based on the religious writings of Simone Weil.


Also by Paul Stubbs

The Theological Museum, Flambard Press, 2005

The Icon Maker, Arc Publications, 2008

Ex Nihilo, Black Herald Press 2010

Flesh, Black Herald Press 2010

The End of the Trial of Man, Arc Publications, 2015


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