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Shadow and Refrain

Poems and Translations

Alex Wong

Cover of Shadow and Refrain by Alex Wong
10% off all versions
Categories: 21st Century, BAME, British
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (174 pages)
(Pub. May 2021)
9781800170988
£12.99 £11.69
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. May 2021)
9781800170995
£10.39 £9.35
eBook (Kindle)
(Pub. May 2021)
9781800171008
£10.39 £9.35
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  • Description
  • Author
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • Alex Wong's first collection, Poems Without Irony (2016), was a book that took nothing for granted, that broke through to the particularity of things and experiences, distrusting and defying generality. Elaine Feinstein celebrated the 'extraordinarily new rhetoric for his love poetry' whilst David Morley commended his 'linguistic finesse'.

    Shadow and Refrain presses on, less coyly, with similar themes and a tenacious syntax that gorgeously persists until it has secured its quarry, the long sentences - sometimes running through several stanzas - asking to be read aloud to be secured. As the poet insists, 'These poems are designed to be read using the mouth' - for sensation even if not for fully voiced sound. This book, like the first, is troubled by the difficulty of frank expression in the more private nooks of day-to-day life, and is driven to find curious routes into the centres of experiences that resist simpler articulation. Some poems are imagined addresses to inaccessible friends, or engagements with significant places and objects. Intimacy is repeatedly probed, the processes by which it can be attained and lost, the preoccupations it brings with it and leaves behind.
    Alex Wong was born in 1988 in London, where for the most part he was schooled, though he spent much of his childhood in O’ahu, Hawai’i. He studied and now teaches English literature at the University of Cambridge. Poems Without Irony, his first collection of poetry, was published by Carcanet ... read more
    Awards won by Alex Wong Short-listed, 2017 Roehampton Poetry Prize Short-listed, 2017 The Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry First Collection Prize (Poems Without Irony)
    'He loves words and their enticing shape-changing propensities; he loves accuracy of definition and has a consuming distaste for slovenliness.'
    Peter Scupham
    Praise for Alex Wong 'Wong's introduction is enormously stimulating and suggestive, elegantly written, and thoughtfully organized and it takes the reader to the shore of the vast sea of Pater's work anthologized in the main body of the text... this is a portable Pater that provides enough stimulus, raw text, and admirable, thoughtful annotation to act as an outstanding guide to a great writer.'

    J. B. Bullen, Studies in Walter Pater and Aestheticism

    'Alex Wong's intelligent selection for Carcanet includes the obligatory essays on Leonardo (1869), Botticelli (1870) and Giorgione (1877), as well as the notorious conclusion to The Renaissance (1873) ... Wong's succinct notes cover an impressive range and his selection for Carcanet is an excellent starting point for the first-time reader.'

    Elizabeth Prettejohn, London Review of Books

      'Eloquently synopsizes the major arguments regarding certain hallmarks of Pater's critical stance and aestheticist worldview... A welcome occurrence and worthy of notice and commendation... There is much that will reward the reader intrepid enough to follow both the main roads and the byways of Pater's thought'

    Meghan Freeman, English Literature in Translation 
    'Possesses brilliant linguistic finesse'
    David Morley
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