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Diary of the Last Man

Robert Minhinnick

Diary of the Last Man Cover
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This title is available for academic inspection (paperback only).
Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 784103 48 4
Categories: 21st Century, British, Welsh
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: April 2017
216 x 135 x 8 mm
88 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (Kindle), eBook (EPUB), eBook (PDF)
Digital access available through Exact Editions
  • Description
  • Author
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • Shortlisted for the 2017 T.S. Eliot Prize

    The opening poem sequence, ‘Diary of the Last Man’, sets the tone for Robert Minhinnick’s book, a celebration of the dwindling Earth, an elegy, a caution. His Wales is a touchstone; other landscapes and cityscapes are tried against it, with its erratic weather, its sudden changes of mood, ‘a black tonic’. The sequence remembers all the geographies of his earlier work, old and new world, but now unpeopled and the lonely spirit free to go anywhere, do anything, but meaning with mankind has drained away. Yet still alive, and still with language, registering. The rest of the book is filled with voices: of children, of rivers, terrorists, magicians; and voices translated from the Welsh, and from Turkish and Arabic, shared, enriching with their difference, their other worlds. History washes over and washes up on the strand of this Welsh book. It is seen and recognised, it begins to be transformed. In the long concluding poem, ‘The Sand Orchestra’, the poet returns to his own voice, and to the voice of a Bechstein piano abandoned in the open air, played now by nature, its winds and sand. The last man, who has been looking for Ulysses, is the very man he has been looking for.
    Robert Minhinnick’s recent publications include the novels, Sea Holly (2007) and Limestone Man (2015) from Seren and Fairground Music: the World of Porthcawl Funfair (Gomer, 2010). He edited the international quarterly, Poetry Wales, 1997 – 2008, and received a major Creative Wales award in 2008 to write a collection of ... read more
    Awards won by Robert Minhinnick Short-listed, 2017 The T.S. Eliot Prize  (Diary of the Last Man )
    'While Robert Minhinnick's Diary of the Last Man is rooted in the dunescapes of the author'€™s hometown of Porthcawl, it is also a work that is intrinsically internationalist in outlook. The long title poem is a wry, standing-ovation-worthy requiem for humanity predominantly set on the Welsh coast but it could be argued that Minhinnick reserves his most powerful poetry for when he casts his eyes abroad.'
    Wales Arts Review Highlights of the Year 2017


     'Diary of the Last Man presents an unsentimental, indifferent world, filled with cruelty and atrocity but, while there may be no Jesus in Minhinnick's geology, there is no shortage of beauty and, filtered through the sands of his language, this beauty is arresting and memorable.'
    Poetry blogger John Field on the 2017 T.S. Eliot Prize newsletter


    'It is in observing these cycles of sea and river, human and animal, that Minhinnick most excels, and his collection as a whole is beautifully and acoustically attuned to what is most precious in out lives and around us' Suzannah V Evans, New Welsh Review on Diary of the Last Man 'Robert Minhinnick's new collection confirms his status as one of the most important poets of these turbulent times. Bleakly elegiac, environmentally political, vital and visionary, his poems cast an extraordinary light over our darkening landscapes.'
    Carol Ann Duffy
    Praise for Robert Minhinnick 'Robert Minhinnick is the leading Welsh poet of his generation'
    Sunday Times
     'There is something imposing in the way he makes his chosen locale, the strand of Porthcawl, feel like the edge of the world, on which wash up echoes of world politics and broad sweeps of history.'
    Philip Gross, Poetry London
    'After the Hurricane is a rich and rewarding collection, full of flinty fragments which light a bonfire of the imagination.'
    Planet: The Welsh Internationalist
    'Minhinnick is one of the few poets who writes about a dockyard or a hedgerow with equal authority...A friend of mine once said that he liked to think of R.S.Thomas as "just being there": outside the media hubbub, steadily producing wonderful poems. Although Minhinnick's considerably younger, and more cosmopolitan in scope, I'd say the same about him.'
    Poetry London
    'Minhinnick is a poet of the moment...his best work takes you and places you slap bang in the middle of an experience. Like a mini tardis.'
    The Big Issue
    'Biodiversity is at the heart of what he writes about, backed up by a knowledge of archaeology and geology. He is now entering his mature phase and is already one of our most accomplished poets.'
    The Western Mail
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