In a thought experiment devised by the philosopher, Hilary Putnam, a “Twin Earth“ is identical to the earth except for one thing: water on twin earth looks and tastes just like water on earth, falls from the sky and comes out of taps, but has a different chemical structure. People on twin earth refer to it as water, but it is a different substance (XYZ-water, not H2O-water). This was taken by Putnam to show that „meanings ain’t in the head“ but involve external reality.
„Twin Earth“ can also be interpreted as a representation of earth which simultaneously resembles it and differs from it. In this much wider sense, poetry itself can be seen as a twin of the world.
This collection of poems refers to reality but is a subjectivised view of this reality.. Its themes include space, time, illness, loss, the North, Mozart, Thucydides, Homer and Kafka. This is poetry which moves lightly from the cosmic to the personal, from the sardonic to the compassionate, from the comic to the grief-laden, from the mock-pretentious to the brutally direct.