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In the Wake of the Day

John Ash

In the Wake of Day
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Categories: 21st Century
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
(Pub. Jan 2010)
£9.95 £8.96
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(Pub. Jan 2010)
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  • What are we to make of these fragments,
    These hisses and whispers? Who were
    These people who were buried in uncounted chambers
    Hacked into the sheer side of a precipice,
    Which in their extinct language, they called ‘round’,
    Which it was not, great wall of sorrow and forgetting.
    They were perhaps undistinguished by the standards
    Of their time, producing no poets or philosophers
    Whose names history has recorded, but they lived.

                                                             from ‘Pinara’
    In the Wake of the Day is a book of memories and journeys; from the chaotic energy of urban life in modern Istanbul, where John Ash lives, to the ruins of vanished civilisations; from personal incident to the narratives and vacancies of cultures. Ash inhabits the fertile and ambiguous territory where East and West meet. We ‘know and do not know’ the past. In an ‘imperial city without empire, place of paradox’, time too becomes fluid. The ancient, half-imagined past of Ur, Alexandria, Cappadocia coexists with a contemporary world in which ‘tank tracks are driven over Babylon’.

    At the centre of this collection are John Ash’s versions of poems by the great Alexandrian C.P. Cavafy. Working with Cavafy’s voice, Ash expresses his own urbane intelligence.

    Cover photograph: Beyoğlu Street, Istanbul © Dan Auger Cover design


    The Couple    
    Unasked For    
    Finding Prostanna    
    In Jean Dubuffet’s Crimson Landscape    
    Near the Euphrates    
    Poem: ‘I never really wanted…’    
    Lines Written in a Hotel Room in Afyon    
    The Cut    
    Partial Explanation    
    Practical Criticism    
    The Towel of Alyattes    
    The Result    
    The Women of Kars (or Some Other Places I Know and
    Do Not Know)    
    After Cavafy
    Without Memorial    
    Fever of Kleitos    
    The Battle of Magnesia    
    Antiochus Epiphanes    
    The Gods in their Wisdom    
    In Ösroene    
    Disillusionment of Demetrius Soter    
    The Triumph of John Kantakouzenos    
    A Byzantine Nobleman Writing in Exile
    In a Syrian Harbour    
    The Bergamot Tree
    In the Wake of the Day    
    Finding Prostanna (2)    
    Two Poems with an Uncritical Apparatus    
    Prose for Ebubekir Akbulut    
    The Antiochiad    

    JOHN ASH was born in Manchester in 1948 and read English at the University of Birmingham. He lived for a year in Cyprus, and in Manchester between 1970 and 1985, before moving to New York. Since 1996 he has lived in Istanbul. His poetry has appeared in many publications including the ... read more
    Praise for John Ash 'A little querulous, perhaps? Never mind. This may be the most auspicious debut of its kind since Auden's.'
    Carolyn Kizer
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