"Shadow and Bone" is Peter Levi's first collection of poems since "Private Ground" (1981), apart from two small books of 'lamentations' - formal elegies for friends - "The Echoing Green" and "Shakespeare's Birthday". It is a rich and diverse collection, varied in subject and verse-forms. There are sequences about railway posters and America, poems for friends and fellow scholars or poets, poems about marriage and the natural world, epigrams, a magnificent long poem on the meaning of Christmas, and meditative lyrics.
Peter Levi, who died in 2000, was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford University in 1984. Until 1977 he was a Jesuit priest. He was a classicist whose writing includes three uncategorizable books - on modern Greece, Afghanistan, and the English landscape - as well as translations, critical and scholarly works, and a thriller. But he was first and foremost a poet.