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ISBN: 978 1 857542 12 7
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: September 1995
216 x 135 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: Hardback
When brightness leaves the trees they seem to fall
Backwards, deprived of shadows, then rise again in a cool
Diminishment of waiting, solider still.
Which it is possible
Is what they mean whom death makes audible
Beyond our ears and, I feel, as simple.
P.J.Kavanagh's poems are filled with praise, with the minute observations
that transform a mood, or the dazzling recollection that can change the
heart. 'If description is revelation,' wrote Derek Mahon in the Irish
Times, 'his revelatory gift is prodigious. Now is the time to read
The religious sympathies of Henry Vaughan and Thomas Traherne, the
earth-love of Edward Thomas, the urbane wit of Louis MacNeice, are three of
the many currents that run through his verse, giving it 'that quality of
sheer readability' Vernon Scannell noted in the Sunday Telegraph. John
Bayley declared, 'there are poets in any age who can give the impression of
talk. Kavanagh is a real craftsman at this difficult form.'
The contents of seven collections are included in this
comprehensive volume, which traces the poet through three and a half
decades and ends with his remarkable human elegy and celebration of a
beloved landscape, 'Severn Aisling', described by Frank Kermode as 'quite
Praise for P.J. Kavanagh '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 on Collected Poems '[P.J. Kavanagh possesses] that quality of sheer readability... ' Vernon Scannell Though in many ways an obvious successor to Edward Thomas... PJKavanagh 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 [on Presences]
Anthony Thwaite in the Sunday Telegraph , 21st November, 2004
There are times, or moods, when you want a poet to talk to you, in the sense of listening to memorable speech, not too high-flown; you hear it in George Herbert, in Robert Frost, in Edward Thomas, in Philip Larkin. read more
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