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All The Poems
ISBN: 978 1 857547 73 3
Categories: 20th Century, Catholic, Scottish, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: October 2004
215 x 135 x 21 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: Paperback
Beads and jewels of long ago look out
from their dark shopwindows
like blackberries in a wayside bramble bush
holding out their arms:
Take me, pick me, I am dark and sweet,
ripe and moist with life.
from 'The Dark Music of the Rue du Cherche-Midi'
Muriel Spark was a poet before she was a novelist: All the Poems presents the full range of the poetry of one of the most acclaimed modern British writers. Here are villanelles, ballads and epigrams, as well as freer forms, all marked by brilliantly precise observation and command of her medium. Her poems are witty, idiosyncratic and haunting, transforming the familiar into glittering moments of strangeness, revealing the dark music beneath the mundane. The edge of danger and wry insights in Muriel Spark's poems are equally unforgettable.
Although most of my life has been devoted to fiction, I have always thought of myself as a poet. I do not write poetic prose, but feel that my outlook on life and my perceptions of events are those of a poet. Whether in prose or verse, all creative writing is mysteriously connected with music and I always hope this factor is apparent throughout my work.
The National Library of Scotland holds the Muriel Spark archive and has just launched a dedicated website. Visit www.nls.uk/murielspark/ for more information.
Table of Contents
A Tour of London
The Dark Music of the Rue du Cherche-Midi
The Yellow Book
Holy Water Rondel
The Creative Writing Class
That Bad Cold
Leaning Over an Old Wall
Flower into Animal
Going Up to Sotheby's
On the Lack of Sleep
The Grave that Time Dug
My Kingdom for a Horse
Complaint in a Wash-Out Season
Litany of Time Past
Faith and Works
Note by the Wayside
Mungo Bays the Moon
The Empty Space
Anger in the Works
While Flickering Over the Pages
Standing in the Field
To the Gods of My Right Hand
That Lonely Shoe lying on the Road
The Victoria Falls
Against the Transcendentalists
The Card Party
Elegy in a Kensington Churchyard
Four People in a Neglected Garden
We Were Not Expecting the Prince To-day
Created and Abandoned
Bluebell Among the Sables
The Three Kings
The Ballad of the Fanfarlo
From the Latin:
To Lucius Sestius in the Spring
Prologue and Epilogue
Praise for Muriel Spark 'Spark achieves precisely what she sets out to: no surprise to us now but pretty impressive given that this was her first book.'
Zoë Strachan, Scottish Review of Books 'The style is bracingly familiar â beady, ironic, acidulous... She is an astute critic.'
Anthony Quinn, Daily Mail Like all her work, surprising, beautifully written, and with unnerving glimpses into the abyss which lies, always, beneath our feet.
- John Mortimer, Evening Standard
'The marvellous thing about Muriel Spark's writing is that...it never gets knotted up in its own so-sharp-she'll-cut-herself cleverness. Spark's writing has a subtle merriment about it, a lightness of touch, a willingness to share in fleeting moments of mundane love and pleasure.'
Jenny Turner, London Review of Books
'Like all her work, surprising, beautifully written, and with unnerving glimpses into the abyss which lies, always, beneath our feet.'
John Mortimer, Evening Standard
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