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In Britain the most adventurous list in poetry and in fiction is that being printed according to the ideals of a small press by Carcanet, well away from London. It does look as if the old alliance between the words of the writer and the artistry of making fine books has a vital future.
George Steiner

The Bells of St Babel's

Allen Curnow

Cover Picture of The Bells of St Babel's
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Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 857545 38 8
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: September 2001
216 x 135 x 5 mm
64 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
  • Description
  • Excerpt
  • Author
  •   ... pencil or chisel can't replicate
       the rose in the mind's eye, indelibly true
    north by needle ...

    from 'The Pocket Compass'
    'He has been a major voice at every stage of his career,' wrote C.K. Stead in the London
    Review of Books
    , 'knowing what he is about, moving at his own pace, inventive,
    unpredictable' In The Bells of Saint Babel's Allen Curnow, now in his nineties, is
    unique in English-language poetry not only in the length of his innings but in the vigour
    of his most recent work.

    The Bells of Saint Babel's, his first book for four years, revisits places and
    considers life's ironies, the chances and accidents that lead to 'here'. There are narrative
    sequences, a sonnet, four free translations from Pushkin, and poems of lyric reflection. All
    are marked by Curnow's close attention to visual detail, his lovingly severe interest in the
    landscape and history of his own country, and his formal fluency and variety.

    ALLEN CURNOW was born in New Zealand in 1911. His Norfolk-born mother was a collateral
    great-niece of the poet George Crabbe, a curious fact from which (he says) no particular
    conclusion can be drawn. His father was an Anglican clergyman, son of a St Ives-born
    Cornishman, and great grandson of an Edinburgh Scot who (in the aftermath of Waterloo)
    migrated first to Tasmania and later to New Zealand, where he settled in 1835, some years
    before it became a British colony.

    He has written many books of poems, distilled in Early Days Yet: new and collected poems
    1941-1997
    (Carcanet, 1997). He has received the New Zealand Book Award for Poetry six
    times, was made a CBE and was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 1990. He received
    the A.W. Reed Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.
    ALLEN CURNOW was born in Timaru in 1911. Educated at Canterbury and Auckland universities,after a period of study for the Anglican ministry he turned to journalism. In 1951 hejoined the English Department at the University of Auckland, where he taught until 1976.He has published poetry, plays and criticism and edited two ... read more
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