When was the last time you said of a book of poetry, 'I couldn’t put it down?' Well, now’s your chance. Moving between poetry and prose, dialogue and history, Robin Robertson’s The Long Take is a propulsive verbal tour de force ... Robertson, a Scot who’s written six previous poetry collections, is known for his exquisite descriptions of the natural world and dramatic, violent re-tellings of Greek myths. Here he expands his range to include America, a country he loves. He also loves American film noir, and though its film references will make any noir fan swoon, The Long Take is, above all, a carefully crafted narrative poem ... The Long Take is an audacious and often brilliant book.
...[a] masterful epic ... It is a beautiful, vigorous and achingly melancholy hymn to the common man that is as unexpected as it is daring. Here we have a poet at the peak of his symphonic powers taking a great risk, and succeeding gloriously ... Robertson, who must have given years to researching his material, writes of war with appalling immediacy, surveying the carnage with a calmly Homeric eye ... The Long Take is a masterly work of art, exciting, colourful, fast-paced – the old-time movie reviewer’s vocabulary is apt to the case – and almost unbearably moving.
The Long Take, then, is a version of the story of an epoch. And it is immaculately researched in terms of geography, current affairs, and its constant cultural touchstones in the Hollywood films of the time ... Unfortunately, the book is also quite repetitive, in needless as well as effective ways, and palls in places. Moreover, some of the American and Canadian slang feels a little excessive or ventriloquized ... Nonetheless, it is often moving and engrossing: a ballsy move on the part of Robin Robertson.