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Late Poems

Thomas Kinsella

Cover of Late Poems by Thomas Kinsella
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ISBN: 978 1 847772 43 5
Categories: 21st Century, Irish
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: October 2013
144 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
  • Description
  • Excerpt
  • Author
  • Contents
  • Tenants in Common

    A hiss from near my heel.
    A slither up out of the shallows.
    And my old opposite
    breathed out of the branches in my path.

    ‘I had been hoping for this.
    To solve our joint requirements:
    you, needing my nothingness
    to quieten your fevers;
    I needing the pulse of life
    for my inertia.
    We were made for each other.

    Misplaced here together,
    who knows for how long more;
    neither asking to take part;

    both hoping for the unexpected
    to improve matters;
    knowing it is unlikely.

    I have decided, therefore,
    to make as much of things as I can.’

    The thin leathery lips approached my neck.
    This book collects the poems of Thomas Kinsella from his five most recent Peppercanister pamphlets. As he has throughout his writing, here Kinsella sets himself, clear-eyed, to face hard truths: ‘the waste and the excess’ of the living process; ageing and emptiness; the cancer of war. But against these are the creatively redeeming impulses – of the search for understanding: ‘an imagination arguing with itself / until the ache is eased’; above all, of ‘Grace as desire… Joy of the flesh / Saying all it can of love.’

    With unique memorability and force these poems, in the words of ‘Belief and Unbelief’, coax us to follow their author in search of understanding ‘back to the dark / and the depths that I came from’. No one who cares about poetry should hesitate to embark on the journey.
    The Guardian

    The most complex and multi-layered of the Peppercanister poems…taken with the 1968 and 1973 volumes and some of the earlier poems may comprise the most challenging, most achieved, and therefore most rewarding body of poetry from the British Isles over the past half-century.
    The Cambridge History of Irish Literature
    Marginal Economy (2006)

    Wandering alone

    First Night
    The Affair
    Wedding Service

    Blood of the Innocent
    Marcus Aurelius

    Songs of Exile
    Marginal Economy
    Songs of Understanding
    Rhetoric of Natural Beauty

    Man of War (2007)

    A Proposal

    1. An Insect Analogue
    2. By the Dead Sea
    3. A Sleeping Cancer
    4. The War Horse
    5. Instances from the Greek

    Belief and Unbelief (2007)

    Art Object
    Belief and Unbelief
    Legendary Figures, in Old Age
    Lost Cause
    Foetus of Saint Augustine
    Prayer I
    Prayer II

    Fat Master (2011)

    Elderly Craftsman at his Bench
    Into Thy Hands
    The Last Round: an allegory
    The Guardians
    Summer Evening: City Centre
    She continued
    Free Fall
    Fat Master

    Love Joy Peace (2011)

    Reserved Table
    Colloquy of the Carnal
    Flesh Eater
    The Next Part of the Prayer
    Tenants in Common

    Love Joy Peace
    Kinsella is by now the most formidable presence in Irish poetry. - Seamus Deane, A Short History of Irish Literature Kinsella's is a distinct, authoritative, critical voice, but while his body of work might at times appear fragmentary, even the fragments radiate. - Pat Boran, Sunday Tribune Thomas Kinsella was born ... read more
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