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Proof of Identity

Neil Powell

Proof of Identity by Neil Powell
RRP: GBP 9.95
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This title is available for academic inspection (paperback only).
Paperback
ISBN: 978 1 847770 95 0
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: February 2012
216 x 135 x 8 mm
88 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (EPUB), eBook (Kindle), eBook (PDF)
  • Description
  • Excerpt
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  • Contents
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • This glassblower’s cheeks are bulbous as Dizzy Gillespie’s
    As he forms what must surely be a blue glass flask.
    He’ll add four feet, two ears, blob eyes, a curly tail,
    And seal the aperture to create a stumpy snout.

    But in truth he’s ruined it: that slit along the back
    Turns it into a piggy-bank, a glowing deep-blue toy.
    ‘It would be great as a pig, without the slit,’ says the boy.
    ‘Okay’ – and the glassblower smiles – ‘for you I make one.’

        from ‘The Lindshammar Pig’
    Neil Powell's seventh Carcanet collection explores the deep roots of identity: family histories we inherit, memories we carry, the casual decisions and wrong turnings that add up to make us who we are.

    At the heart of the book is a compelling narrative based on a journal kept by the poet's grandmother of her life in South Africa: a feckless husband, a 483-mile trek with horse and covered wagon, violence and poverty. There's also a shorter, teasingly fictional narrative and a sequence about the life of a grand piano. Other poems deal with childhood, leaving home and first love; a park in Kent and a wood in Suffolk; an old photograph of the Strand and Louis Armstrong's first solo; the London bombers of 2005; and, finally, two old friends recalled in very different elegies.

    Meditative, wry, melancholy and celebratory, this is Neil Powell at his most versatile and memorable.
    Proof of Identity
    The Lindshammar Pig
    Hotel Codan
    Me and Mr Jones
    The Break
    At the Piano
    Kempas Highway, 1966
    In Sudbourne Wood
    Parkland
    Knole
    Blackborough Park
    The Boy on the Bus
    Strand, 1923
    Louis Takes a Break
    The Journal of Lily Lloyd
    The Gardener
    Shutting Down
    A Huntingdonshire Elegy
    Point-to-Point

    NEIL POWELL was born in London in 1948. He was educated at Sevenoaks School, where he founded and edited the award-winning magazine Verve and wrote on jazz as a ‘young critic’ for The Daily Telegraph ; and at the University of Warwick, where he read English and American Literature (BA, 1966–9) ... read more
    Awards won by Neil Powell Winner, 2017 East Anglian Writers Book by the Cover Award (Was and Is) Winner, 2017  East Anglian Book Awards (for Poetry)
    (Was and Is)
    Praise for Neil Powell 'Throughout there are poems to and for friends and yet, paradoxically, Powell has the air of an outsider, solitary and watchful.' 

     D A Prince, the North

     ''Neil Powell's Was and Is: Collected Poems gathers together a lifetime of walking, seeing, reading and rhyming the landscapes of eastern England, and in particular the coast of Suffolk. The author's world of friends and books has a wide historical horizon, haunted by literary ghosts from George Crabbe to W.G. Sebald. This is a rich book full of the light of the changing seasons, the rhythms of weather and sea, and the little details of human life that add colour to every corner of these skilful, evocative, and painterly poems.''
    Dr Jeremy Noel-Tod (UEA), Poetry judge of the 2017 East Anglian Book Awards

    'Like ordinary people, poets long to be loved. But all that is necessary is that they should be understood.'
    Roy Fuller
         'His poetry has a rewarding range and depth, though memory and our ambivalent handling of memory is what he is best at. He is an elegiac poet, and in some ways a more valuable poet of loneliness than Larkin. Any younger reader who hasn't yet cottoned on to Powell should find this carefully considered 'Collected' rewarding: his is a quiet insistent voice at the heart of the tradition.'
    John Fuller

    'Neil Powell's poems are lucid, elegant, formal and humane .'
    Peter Scupham
    'An exceptional poet of place, and of the East Anglian coast in particular: Neil Powell's Selected Poems thoroughly defines the peculiar atmospheres of that bleak landscape and seascape...'
    New Statesman
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Cover of Selected Poems
Selected Poems Roy Fuller,
Edited by John Fuller
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