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New Selected Poems

P.J. Kavanagh

Cover of P.J. Kavanagh's New Selected Poems
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Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 847772 52 7
Categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, British
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: May 2014
213 x 135 x 15 mm
167 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (Kindle), eBook (EPUB)
  • Description
  • Author
  • Contents
  • Reviews
  • In his foreword to this book, Derek Mahon notes that P.J. Kavanagh’s poems ‘elude the obvious categories. He has never been one of a “school”’. A poet of rural England, yet of Irish ancestry, Kavanagh ‘has always stood slightly apart’. He championed the poems of Ivor Gurney and shares with Gurney not only a personal landscape (that of Gloucestershire) but a poetic commitment to the actual and specific, to nature writing at its most rootedly precise. His is, in Mahon’s words, ‘a unique personal record’: ‘a lifetime’s dedication has produced its rich results’.

    Foreword by Derek Mahon

    from One and One (1959)
    Dedication Poem 
    Djakarta 
    Yeats’s Tower 
    Intimations of Unreality 
    Merton Garden 
    Beggar at the Villa d’Este 

    from On the Way to the Depot (1967)
    Saint Tropez 
    The Spring 
    August by the River
    Westwell, Oxfordshire
    On the Way to the Depot
    Afternoon in Sneem
    The Temperance Billiards Rooms
    In the Rubber Dinghy
    Perfection Isn’t Like a Perfect Story
    Not Being a Man of Action 
    Satire I
    Goldie sapiens
    May
    No One

    from About Time (1970)
    One: Son and Father 
    Seven: from ‘Albert Poems’ 
    Nine: ‘Domesticities’ 
    Ten: Father and Son

    from Edward Thomas in Heaven (1974)
    Occasional Birds 
    Sometimes 
    Commuter 
    For Bruno 
    Eclogue 
    All I Want 
    Real Sky 
    A Box of Sons 
    November the First 
    Child’s Walk 
    Driving Back 
    Opened and Fastened 
    Picture a Father 
    And Light Fading 
    The Clapham Elephants 
    Edward Thomas in Heaven 
    Consolations 

    from Life Before Death (1979)
    Dome 
    A Hard Setting
    While the Sun Shines
    Where You Watching Are
    A Single Tree
    Don’t Forget the Keeper, Sir
    A Great Gale, 1976
    Breakfast in Italy
    Ivor Gurney
    The Dead
    Simile
    Gardening
    Beyond Decoration
    The Moon in Charge
    Sun Overcast
    Elder
    Dandelion
    Pilgrims
    Borris House, Co. Carlow
    For C.E.K.
    Spring Arrival
    Thank-You Letter
    Praying
    Seal
    Illness
    Memory

    from Presences (1987)
    Birth of Middle Age
    Walmer Castle
    A Small World
    Late Acknowledgement
    Farmworker
    Ars est celare artem
    Politics
    Birthday Visit 
    Prayer in Middle Age 
    Constitutional 
    Nature Poet
      1. Voices 
      2. The Attempt 
      3. One Sentence, and Another 
      4. Companions 
      5. A Clean Sensation 

    from An Enchantment (1991)
    A ghost replies
    The old notebook 
    Autumn 
    Memorial service 
    No more songs 
    January evening 
    Blackbird in Fulham 
    They lift their heads 
    Minimal prayer suggestion 
    Natural history 
    Hope 
    Falklands, 1982 
    Whitsun 
    Resistance 
    ITMA 
    In the middle of the wood 
    The belt 
    Quieter than Clichy 
    Inishmaine 
    Severn aisling 
    Message  

    from Something About (2004)
    Slow as grass
    The new man 
    November 
    Angels 
    Tug o’ war 
    A gottle o’ Guinness 
    Mood indigo, tune Irish 
    After Westwell 
    ‘Constancy to an ideal object’ 
    Ascension window at Fairford 
    Whitsun 
    Vox pop 
    Small voice 
    Seasonals
      1. ‘Summer…’ 
      2. ‘Combine-harvesters…’ 
      3. ‘Rain…’ 
      4. ‘Later, pale-faced hogweed…’ 
    What I didn’t say to Thomas 
    Two syllabics
      1. Christmas walk
      2. Test Match Special
    For Kate 
    Three score and ten 
    Gold 
    Dawns 
    London Bridge 
    Job 
    Something about 

    Index of Titles 
    Index of First Lines 
    P.J. Kavanagh was born in England in 1931, and has worked as a lecturer, actor and broadcaster, as well as a writer. His Collected Poems were published in 1992, the year in which he was given the Cholmondeley Award for poetry. His memoir The Perfect Stranger won the Richard Hillary Prize ... read more
    'The pleasure of reading these poems is the pleasure of exceptionally good company. Kavanagh has exactly the right kind of curiosity - neither pedantic nor trifling, but casual in the best sense.'
    Wynn Wheldon, Spectator
    Praise for P.J. Kavanagh 'To hear the truth so devastatingly and yet so joyfully encountered is rare in an age where autobiography has been flattened by the massed weight of political and public reminiscence. This autobiography, from its beginning to its bitter end, is a celebration of joy: joy in youth, in woman, in male camaraderie, in the struggle of art, in married love.'
    Times Literary Supplement 
    'There is plenty of quietly glittering intellect in these poems... he has an eye for rural things, birds, plants, weather; all are subdued to the colour of his own mind, its knowledge of loss, its recurrent perception of the world as a place to which it belongs and does not belong... this collection amply demonstrates Kavanagh's distinguished place among contemporary poets.'
    Frank Kermode
    'The pleasure of reading these poems is the pleasure of exceptionally good company. Kavanagh has exactly the right kind of curiosity - neither pedantic nor trifling, but casual in the best sense.'
    Wynn Wheldon, Spectator
    'There is plenty of quietly glittering intellect in these poems... he has an eye for rural things, birds, plants, weather; all are subdued to the colour of his own mind, its knowledge of loss, its recurrent perception of the world as a place to which it belongs and does not belong... this collection amply demonstrates Kavanagh's distinguished place among contemporary poets.'
    Frank Kermode
     'Though in many ways an obvious successor to Edward Thomas... P. J. Kavanagh has also much in common with Louis MacNeice, an essentially private and autobiographical poet... Kavanagh displays the same talent for a conversational tone, and shares MacNeice's fondness for rhyme, his love of echoes... he employs traditional forms while allowing himself a relaxed freedom regarding line-length and metre (not to be mistaken for a lack of craft). The parallels should not be overstressed, however; Kavanagh is decidedly his own man with his own interestsand concerns. For one thing, religion takes the place of politics for him, though his attitude to belief reveals something of that critical fastidiousness MacNeice maintained towards the political orthodoxies of his day...'
    Simon Rae
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