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Misprint

James Womack

Misprint by James Womack
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Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 847771 38 4
Categories: 21st Century, First Collections
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: July 2012
211 x 137 x 8 mm
72 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (EPUB), eBook (Kindle)
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  • You never told me how boring it is to be mad
    with you it was always gin and parties
    and the solar radio, that remembered
    its songs with the sunrise...

    from ‘Eurydice’
    ‘The only end of writing,’ Dr Johnson said, ‘is to enable the readers better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.’ Misprint offers the reader countries and languages perceived through the eyes of youth and loss. Untimely deaths and memories of far-off lands abound, some dreamed, some lived. In this first collection, James Womack plays with ideas of tradition, lightly conjuring heavy themes, and makes a bow to pulp culture. He ferries us between Russia, Spain and North Korea and the differently ‘real’ virtual environments of film, dream, ghosts, the North Korean Press Agency. ‘Eurydice’, the concluding sequence, draws the different strands of the collection together.

    We end up dislocated: bewildered but rather happier about the future. As Mr Edwards said to the Great Cham: ‘I, too, Sir, in my time have tried being a philosopher; but somehow cheerfulness kept creeping in.’
    From a Notebook    
    The Thing    
    The Water Cycle: Variations on a Theme    
    Halfway through the A-Feature
    Internet Poems    
    Young Romance    
    Three Epigrams    
    The Underworld    
    Ariadne    
    Tourism    
    Little Red Poem    
    Fish    
    The Dogs of a House in Mourning and the Naked Girl    
    Master Chuang    
    Found Poem: President’s Reminiscences Read Widely    
    Property    
    Maisky Poems    
    Vomit    
    Likeness    
    Experiment    
    Foiled again…    
    Criticism    
    The True Scholar    
    from The Literary Encyclopaedia    
    Dark and stormys    
    Mosaic    
    Now, / A / Poem / That is Called / ‘Of Insomnia’    
    Misprint    

    Eurydice
    1    Was it that long ago you died?    
    2    Pray for us sinners, that we have climbed    
    3    The shutters falling    
    4    After, it is you who lie in the hollow of my elbow    
    5    Slowly and patiently we have forgotten it all    
    6    You never told me how boring it is to be mad    
    7    Leaving the bright town to the desert    
    8    A garden, as a child might draw it    
    9    I wrote to you last March in Madrid    
    10    Thick fog. I walked down the way of all flesh    
    11    Your smile fades and the garden is now dark    
    12    Death is not the end; some doors are never fully closed    
    Coda    With two bags where his two hands were    

    Notes  
    James Womack was born in Cambridge in 1979. He studied Russian, English and translation at university, and received his doctorate, on W.H. Auden's translations, in 2006. He currently lives in Madrid, where he works as a freelance translator from Russian and Spanish and is co-editor of the publishing house Nevsky Prospects, ... read more
    'Technically adept, self-consciously ironic, and provocative about the nature of art and the role of the artist... Often I felt as if I was being taken aside and told a joke that’s ridiculously funny at the same time as being deadly serious. '
    Heidi Williamson, Eyewear
    'James Womack is another bright young poet... he is capable of lugubrious comic inventions such as 'From the Literary Encyclopaedia', which charts an experimental novelist's doomed career, alongside 'Tourism', a clipped and chilly poem about the export of jihadis to the Middle East... on the evidence of Misprint Womack has scope, curiosity and a refreshing sense of not having foresuffered everything he encounters.'
    Sean O'Brien, The Sunday Times
    Praise for James Womack  In James Womack's 'book of lies'€™, in the court of love and the erotic, where honesty may be a necessary contrivance, the speaker is both accuser and accused. The poems display a wry, mordant romanticism which manages to be at war with itself while keeping a keen eye on the imaginative opportunities. On Trust is a witty, eloquent, troubling collection.'
    Sean O'€™Brien
    'The first half of On Trust is about a love affair, which is true to all the stumbles of falling in love. An actual affair? Or a vivid thought-experiment? It is both and neither. It is Schrödinger's pussy. It is and it isn'€™t. '€˜In your park, the wind pushes at an empty swing.'€™ Inventive, clever, funny, rueful, ironic, hypnotised by the erotic.'€™
    Craig Raine
     'In 'Vladimir Mayakovsky' and Other Poems the poet James Womack has put together the comprehensive selection of Mayakovsky'€™s poems I have long been waiting for. His fresh translation allows English readers to appreciate the non-aligned and passionate personality of the Russian poet. I recommend a few lines twice a day to protect against dry academic writing.'
    The Times Higher Education Best Books of 2016
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