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The White Silhouette

James Harpur

The White Silhouette
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This title is available for academic inspection (paperback only).
Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 784105 82 2
Categories: 21st Century, Irish
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: June 2018
216 x 135 x 8 mm
96 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (Kindle), eBook (EPUB), eBook (PDF)
  • Description
  • Author
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • At the heart of James Harpur’s The White Silhouette is a meditative poem inspired by the Book of Kells – a poem that follows threads into themes such as the nature of the divine, the efficacy of sacred art, and the way of silence. The title poem – described in the TLS as a ‘compelling spiritual memoir’ – is a haunting journey of ‘missed encounters’ in the landscapes of Wiltshire, Tipperary, and Patmos. Elsewhere, Harpur writes about pilgrimage, the Perseids, mystical experiences, and icons and iconoclasm – from Rublev’s golden images to decapitated angels in Galway. He complements his explorations of the sacred with more directly personal poems, including elegies and elegiac translations from Homer and Horace.

    Harpur’s poetry is distinguished by its lyric grace and mythohistorical resonance. The musical texture of his lines conveys the warmth, clarity and intimacy of a voice exploring the mysteries of natural, human, and metaphysical worlds. The White Silhouette is the richest summation of his spiritual journey to date.
    James Harpur has had five poetry collections published by Anvil Press and is poetry editor of the Temenos Academy Review and a member of Aosdána, the Irish academy of the arts. His Angels and Harvesters (2012) was a PBS Recommendation and shortlisted for the 2013 Irish Times Poetry Now Award; and ... read more
    Awards won by James Harpur Winner, 1995 National Poetry Competition Commended, 2001 Tablet Book of the Year (Oracle Bones) Short-listed, 2013 Irish Times Poetry Now Award (Angels and Harvesters) Winner, 2009 Michael Hartnett Annual Poetry Award (The Dark Age) Commended, 2012 Poetry Book Society (PBS): Choice - Summer (Angels and Harvesters)
    'Both these collections (Harpur and Deane's Dear Pilgrims) give the lie to the idea that it is no longer possible to think and write creatively and freshly about religion in modern poetry: both Deane and Harpur look back for some of their insights, especially biographically, but their poetry remains conspicuously watching, tasting and touching today's world.'

    Stride Magazine

    'I found the fragile, minimal pieces very moving and convincing: like the fragments described, they carry a weight far beyond their size'

    Stride Magazine

    Praise for James Harpur  'Harpur's sensibility is attuned to love, time, myth, the numinous, the makings of poetry... Harpur has an imaginative wonder.'
    Andrew Waterman, London Magazine
      'There is a deceptive clarity, an almost translucent surface to the poems which belies their complexity and ambition. These are poems in search of -- and in response to --the numinous, the sacred, but they never settle for easy pieties or shortcuts.'
    Michael Symmons Roberts and Moniza Alvi, PBS Bulletin
    'His is an amazingly consistent voice, compelling in intensity... his is a world of insight and intuitions...  If you're brave enough, read him. He will take you into a world you will find difficult to forget.'
    R.J. Bailey, Envoi
     'His poetry, always strongly imbued with a sense of the sacred, makes great play of light's spiritual resonance... his brilliant imagery and luxuriant natural descriptions offer plenty to enjoy.'
    Sarah Crown, The Guardian
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The Carcanet Blog Alison Brackenbury: From the Book Towers read more James Harpur: The Wind Blows Where it Wishes read more John Deane: On Faith and Journeys read more 'From Chetham's Library: 1966 and All That' - PN Review 242 read more Julian Turner: Desolate Market read more Tim Liardet: Arcimboldo's Bulldog read more
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