The AQI is a collection about living, working and breathing in China. The title refers to smog, which is used as a metaphor or underlying image — not least the face mask — throughout many of the poems about day-to-day life, and about love.

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What Writers and Critics Think

  • Poems at once both intimate and global; David Tait gives us precise, arresting imagery in perfectly crafted poems.

    Andrew McMillan


David Tait lives in Nanjing, China, where he works in education. His first collection Self-Portrait with The Happiness (2014) was shortlisted for The Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and received an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors. His pamphlet Three Dragon Day (2015) was chosen as a winner in the Poetry Business Pamphlet Competition, and was shortlisted for the Michael Marks Awards. 

“The central long poem ‘After Orlando’ is a heartbreaking elegy to the dead and an angry stand against homophobia. ‘Like this we go in living, through the cold and the smog’ Tait writes in one poem. We should join him there, in this wonderful collection.” – Andrew McMillan

“This poet disturbs us with his content and pleasures us with his stark language and thoughtful formal designs. Put on your face-mask, and dig in.” – Billy Collins on Three Dragon Day

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