Written under the sign of Eros, builder and destroyer of cities, and prefaced by an epigraph from Keats, the poems in A Place in the World are about home and antipodes, identity as a shibboleth and institutions as leviathans, Pacific islands and raised beaches, Edens and new Jerusalems, the critical spirit and the need for continuity.
Cradling Scotland's stony myths in his palm, the poet sets off for Europe, an old civilisation that can barely reconcile itself to having become a colony of its own Utopia.
In his pocket is a battered copy of the civil philosophy, also out of Scotland, that lends the book its punning title.
Somewhere in the looming shadow of the cities is the poet, still looking - like the Greek philosopher - for human beings.
A Place in the World, Iain Bamforth's fourth collection, is his most lyrical, challenging and considered work to date.