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Diary of the Last Man
Categories: 21st Century, British, Welsh
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (88 pages)
(Pub. Apr 2017)
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Apr 2017)
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Wales Book of the Year 2018
Winner of the 2018 Roland Mathias Poetry Award
Shortlisted for the 2017 T.S. Eliot Prize
The opening poem sequence, ‘Diary of the Last Man’, sets the tone for Robert Minhinnick’s book, a celebration of the dwindling Earth, an elegy, a caution. His Wales is a touchstone; other landscapes and cityscapes are tried against it, with its erratic weather, its sudden changes of mood, ‘a black tonic’. The sequence remembers all the geographies of his earlier work, old and new world, but now unpeopled and the lonely spirit free to go anywhere, do anything, but meaning with mankind has drained away. Yet still alive, and still with language, registering. The rest of the book is filled with voices: of children, of rivers, terrorists, magicians; and voices translated from the Welsh, and from Turkish and Arabic, shared, enriching with their difference, their other worlds. History washes over and washes up on the strand of this Welsh book. It is seen and recognised, it begins to be transformed. In the long concluding poem, ‘The Sand Orchestra’, the poet returns to his own voice, and to the voice of a Bechstein piano abandoned in the open air, played now by nature, its winds and sand. The last man, who has been looking for Ulysses, is the very man he has been looking for.
Awards won by Robert Minhinnick Short-listed, 2017 The T.S. Eliot Prize (Diary of the Last Man ) Winner, 2018 Wales Book of the Year (Diary of the Last Man ) Winner, 2018 Roland Mathias Poetry Award (Diary of the Last Man )
'This is environmentalism turned into elegy. It's so powerful, so political...These are serious poems for serious times..that will stay with you and make you think about what we're doing with the planet.'
Carolyn Hitt, Wales Book of the Year Awards Judge
'While Robert Minhinnick's Diary of the Last Man is rooted in the dunescapes of the author's hometown of Porthcawl, it is also a work that is intrinsically internationalist in outlook. The long title poem is a wry, standing-ovation-worthy requiem for humanity predominantly set on the Welsh coast but it could be argued that Minhinnick reserves his most powerful poetry for when he casts his eyes abroad.'
Wales Arts Review Highlights of the Year 2017
'Diary of the Last Man presents an unsentimental, indifferent world, filled with cruelty and atrocity but, while there may be no Jesus in Minhinnick's geology, there is no shortage of beauty and, filtered through the sands of his language, this beauty is arresting and memorable.'
Poetry blogger John Field on the 2017 T.S. Eliot Prize newsletter
'It is in observing these cycles of sea and river, human and animal, that Minhinnick most excels, and his collection as a whole is beautifully and acoustically attuned to what is most precious in out lives and around us' Suzannah V Evans, New Welsh Review on Diary of the Last Man 'Robert Minhinnick's new collection confirms his status as one of the most important poets of these turbulent times. Bleakly elegiac, environmentally political, vital and visionary, his poems cast an extraordinary light over our darkening landscapes.'
Carol Ann Duffy
Praise for Robert Minhinnick 'After the Hurricane is a rich and rewarding collection, full of flinty fragments which light a bonfire of the imagination.'
Planet: The Welsh Internationalist
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