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Ned Denny

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  • Ned Denny was born in London in 1975 and has worked as a postman, art critic, book reviewer, music journalist and gardener. His poems and remakes have appeared in publications including PN Review, Poetry Review, The White Review, Oxford Poetry, the TLS, and Modern Poetry in Translation. Carcanet published his first collection, Unearthly Toys: Poems and Masks, in February 2018 and B, a version of the Divine Comedy, is forthcoming. His book Unearthly Toys: Poems & Masks was awarded the 2019 Seamus Heaney Prize for Best First Collection.
     'the best Commedia in English that I know... a miraculous achievement'
    Alberto Manguel
     'B sings overwhelmingly in Dante's key - not least because the poets share an urgent sense of moving through chaos to the order of ultimate meaning... the Commedia is a story whose true nature has long fallen on deaf ears, but this individual and passionate rendition may sound just the right note to restore them'
    Sally Read, Times Literary Supplement
     'Ned Denny is a gifted troubadour who has crossed the ages. Unearthly Toys is formidably learned and formally exacting, but his versions are vividly imaginative and original. This is a book of great beauty and conceptual power: extremely clever but also haunting, proving again that formal requirements such as sestinas can be as much of a liberation as a constraint.'
    Bernard O'Donoghue
    'An earthly joy and a staggering debut... at times truly startling'
    Andrew McNeillie, Clutag Press/Archipelago
    'As among the most inventive translators of Dante - watch this space - Denny as a poet goes to Hell and back time after time, with immense verve and authority.'
    New Italian Studies
    'See, for a long time - since I reached these far-away shores, some thirteen years ago - I have been looking for a book of poems. A book of poems. One book of poems that had 'great beauty and conceptual power'. The quest and the drought are finally over. The spell was broken by a book that arrived yesterday, bringing Unearthly Toys down under. Ned Denny's poems are magnificent and so are his versions. This book is a blessing... that Catullus as opener, the Cavalcanti, Cloud... and what about the mesmerizing Waking? But for now I'll pick Fir. It is a powerful book precisely because it originates in the 'thickest of thickets', where truth is to be found and offered - and found it he has, and offered it he has, so gracefully, lightly (as in Calvino's definition of lightness) and truthfully... truthful to himself and to the things and the poems themselves.'
    Marco Sonzogni, Senior Lecturer in Italian, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
      'Ned Denny's Unearthly Toys: Poems and Masks is an interesting and destabilising read. It is a charming yet, at times, dark inspection of life where each consecutive poem builds upon the themes that have already been introduced, and adds to the diversity of techniques and form ... Denny provides a somewhat indirect commentary on the darker aspects of our lives and thoughts, drugs, death, love, and more. Yet, at no point does he display a sense of apathy or hopelessness amidst the grim demeanour.'
    James Mork, Dundee University Review of the Arts


    Awards won by Ned Denny Winner, 2019  Seamus Heaney First Collection Prize (Unearthly Toys)
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