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Poems Without Irony

Alex Wong

9781784103040
10% off all versions
Categories: 21st Century, British, First Collections
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (136 pages)
(Pub. Jan 2017)
9781784103040
£9.99 £8.99
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(Pub. Jan 2017)
9781784103057
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(Pub. Jan 2017)
9781784103064
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  • Description
  • Author
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • Shortlisted for The Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry First Collection Prize 2017
    Shortlisted for The Roehampton Poetry Prize 2017

    Poems without Irony is Alex Wong’s first collection. In subject, tone and form it ranges widely. The book as a whole does not address any one paticular theme, but much of it is concerned with the experience of particularity, with the bounds of moral calculation, and with the need for precision – of thought and of speech – as an aim or obligation. Tensions between the ‘natural’ and the artificial, intention and expression, good faith and bad, are recurrently felt as the poems negotiate their various kinds of ambivalence. The style is governed by a desire for simplicity almost equal to the lure of extravagance, and by the tendency of its subtly differentiated voices towards an elusive playfulness in the face of serious matters. The poems are designed to be read aloud, or at least ‘using the mouth’. Wong’s patient and sympathetic listening to the sounds of English poetry in all periods has enriched the patterns of his own. The poems, therefore, enfold many memories of earlier styles – revived, or still vital, but also gaining new tonal energy in a functional strangeness.



    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)
    'Possesses brilliant linguistic finesse'
    David Morley
    Praise for Alex Wong 'He loves words and their enticing shape-changing propensities; he loves accuracy of definition and has a consuming distaste for slovenliness.'
    Peter Scupham
    '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 
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