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The Canals of Mars
ISBN: 978 1 857547 72 6
Categories: 21st Century, First Collections
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: October 2004
216 x 135 x 5 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Microscopic: a maze of cells around
A spreading core of sound,
Lost in a gallery of its reflections;
Loosening as it holds, one small motif
For DNA, maps itself, as a leaf
Maps out the tree it is and grows upon.
from 'The Fugue'
The Canals of Mars begins with a poem elegising the poet's father and welcoming his newborn son. It concludes with a moment in which everything 'is finished and about to happen'. Patrick McGuinness's poems in this powerful first collection sharply recreate the beauty and strangeness of inner landscapes. He reveals the fractal patterns within familiar structures: the tree within the leaf, the recurrence that unfolds to create a fugue, how common experience is rediscovered within the newly learnt words of a foreign language. A Welsh drystone wall is built of live air, an extinct Martian world mirrors human suffering, an ultrasound scan images a human baby as a luminous constellation.
Awards won by Patrick McGuinness Long-listed, 2011 Wales Book of the Year, English Language Category in The Western Mail (Jilted City)
Lyndon Davies, Poetry Wales Volume 41 no. read more
Anne Berkley, Oxford Poetry Volume XII Spring 2006
Patrick McGuinness is a poet of inhabited space: the suburbs, outer space, the human body, even 'The White Place' of near death experience. read more
Anne Berkeley, Oxford Poetry , Issue XII, Spring 2006 :
Patrick McGuiness is a poet of inhabited space: the suburbs, outer space, the human body, even 'The White Place' of near death experience. read more
Judy Gahagan, Ambit magazine, issue 181
Here you open up on a poetry of moments between, the "spaces without names" ('Borders') in an "afterwards she died into" ('The White Place') in a 'History of Doing Nothing'. read more
David Kennedy, Planet magazine, issue 170, Spring 2005 Solid Castles in the Air
In his thoughtful and wide-ranging study of loss and commemoration in contemporary writing, In Mourning , William Watkin observes that all elegies "have a lot to teach us about the non-representability of absence and the permanent trace of all this in all forms of representation." read more
Kelly Grovier, New Welsh Review , Summer 2005
Given that its author is a Tunisian-born Belgian of Irish extraction who lives in Wales and lectures in England, and whose academic expertise is in French literature, it is perhaps not overly surprising that this extraordinary debut collection should be devoted to what Philip Larkin called 'The Importance of Elsewhere'. read more
Justin Quinn, Metre , Spring 2005
Patrick McGuinness's collection, The Canals of Mars , published last autumn by Carcanet and shortlisted for the inaugral Roland Mathias Prize for Welsh Writing in English, is an impressive debut. read more
From the Times Literary Supplement , Friday 19th November 2004
Soon after the death of his father, James Joyce wrote "Ecce Puer", a short poem linking the leavetaking of the eldest Joyce with the arrival of the author's grandson, Stephen. read more
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