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Child Ballad

David Wheatley (University of Aberdeen)

Cover of Child Ballad by David Wheatley
10% off all versions
Categories: 21st Century, Irish
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (138 pages)
(Pub. Nov 2023)
9781800173552
£12.99 £11.69
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Nov 2023)
9781800173569
£10.39 £9.35
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  • Description
  • Author
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • A Poetry Book Society Winter Recommendation 2023
    A Sunday Times Book of the Year

    In Child Ballad, David Wheatley's sixth collection, he explores a world transformed by the experience of parenthood. Conducting his children through landscapes of Northern Scotland, he follows pathways laid down by departed Irish missionaries and by wolves. He maps a rich territory of rivers, trees and mountains. Also present are histories, some evidenced, some no longer visible and yet to be inferred.

    Stylistically, Child Ballad is multifaceted, drawing on influences from the Scottish ballad tradition and the Gaelic bards, on French symbolism and on the American Objectivists. Wheatley is an Irish poet living and teaching in Scotland: as a cultural corridor, his Scotland is a space of migrations and palimpsests, different traditions held in dynamic balance and fusion. Writing across geographical and historical distances as he does, Wheatley develops an aesthetic of complex intimacy, alert to questions of memory and loss, communicating the ache of the here and now. He sees through the eyes of young children and the world looks very different in its gifts and threats.

    Wheatley provides intimate descriptions of parenthood as well as of a Northern Scottish natural world. He deploys an ambitious range of poetic styles and forms. His poems put deep roots down into history and geology, and with translation into other languages. Themes of migration and politics are never far away. Child Ballad sings of midlife, of resettlement and marriage as well as of parenthood.
    David Wheatley was born in Dublin in 1970. He is the author of five previous collections of poetry, including The President of Planet Earth (Carcanet, 2017) and various other books including a novel, Stretto (CB Editions, 2022); he has also coedited with Ailbhe Darcy The Cambridge History of Irish Women’s Poetry ... read more
    Awards won by David Wheatley Commended, 2023 A Poetry Book Society Winter Recommendation
    (Child Ballad)
    Short-listed, 2018 Irish Times Poetry Now Award (The President of Planet Earth)
    'Wheatley's use of the ballad in several poems is masterful, revivifying a muscular form.'
    Jessica Traynor, The Irish Times
     'These are musical poems of freshness and power, balancing technical skill with emotional depth... Child Ballad is my book of the year.'
    Graeme Richardson, Sunday Times
    Praise for David Wheatley 'Learned by never dry, always witty and surprising, Wheatley scampers through the arts, music, painting and history in this big bazaar of a book'
    Claire Crowther, Poetry London
    'These are poems unable to live off a single set of roots; they continually open up to new ways of scrutinising an environment of which we are both analysts and integral parts.'
    TLS
     'Fluent, smart, slightly arch, good company.'
    Irish Times
     'Gracefully meditative...a Chatterton-esque literary discovery of old, albeit with references to Bob Geldof and Alka-Seltzer.'
    Literary Review
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