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Holy Toledo!

John Clegg

Holy Toledo!
10% off Paperback
Categories: 21st Century, British, Humour
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (64 pages)
(Pub. May 2016)
9781784102609
£9.99 £8.99
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(Pub. May 2016)
9781784102616
£7.99
eBook (Kindle)
(Pub. May 2016)
9781784102623
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  • Description
  • Excerpt
  • Author
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • We can be sure that no-one
    reads a poem Rilke’s way,
    now change your life, bam,
    now, presumably, change it again.
    You’d never get through an anthology.
    Really to read properly is to buzz low over
    our future lives in a cropduster,
    throwing out stumbling blocks.

    from ‘Peach Tree’
    Shortlisted for the 2017 Ledbury Forte Poetry Prize For Second Collections

    Sometime during the twentieth century, the self-mythology of the literary critic fused with that of the cowboy: lone outriders practising a defunct trade. In Holy Toldedo! John Clegg tracks the critic’s silhouette over the dangerous, sun-drenched landscapes of New Mexico, California, Nashville, Utah, Oxford, Cambridge, and London. Here is Donald Davie listening to gospel radio in a Nashville taxi, and here is F. R. Leavis standing on a chair, ‘unscrewing instead the world from round the lightbulb’. Vistas of bristlecone and citrus groves, pocked with fruit flies and rain birds, fuse with the glib-core of Oxbridge England, the university science labs where ‘all three entrances felt like the back way’. Holy Toledo! is a history of English literary criticism in the twentieth century, a bestiary of the American Southwest, an unreliable guide to the desert. Generous, humorous, happily askew, Clegg’s first Carcanet collection signals the flourishing of an ‘emerging’ poet as a major voice.

    Cover Image: Unattributed Mexican ex voto tablet, 1960, depicting Death, the Virgen del Carmen, and a man on horseback cheating Death



    John Clegg was born in Chester in 1986, and grew up in Cambridge. In 2013, he won an Eric Gregory Award. He works as a bookseller in London. ... read more
    Awards won by John Clegg Short-listed, 2017 Ledbury Forte Poetry Prize
    (Holy Toledo!)
     'Shaking off the dust of Cambridge, John Clegg spoors Bloomsbury, and then - Holy Toledo! - enters some western from another planet. Whatever horse he rides he makes it go, a lasso his modus operandi for capturing images.'
    Marius Kociejowski
     'No poet writing today matches John Clegg for wit and rigour. Holy Toledo! opens up a brilliant, uncanny frontier between the American West and the England of Empson, Davie and Woolf. Questioning language, rejoicing in it, Clegg's poetry plunges headfirst into the Great Tradition and comes out swinging.'
    Dai George
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