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an admirable concern to keep lines open to writing in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and America.
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Categories: 21st Century, British, First Collections
Imprint: Northern House
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (120 pages)
(Pub. Dec 2012)
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(Pub. Dec 2012)
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The poems in Owen Lowery's first collection speak in a range of voices, offer glimpses into many lives and many worlds. At the same time, we hear in all of them Lowery's own voice. Incorporating elements from English, Welsh, Hebrew, Arabic, Japanese and Italian poetic traditions, he develops form deftly, giving his work a beautiful, risky movement and musicality. Many of his poems pay tribute to poets writing in the face of war: he enters the worlds of Paul Celan, Keith Douglas, Alun Lewis, Edward Thomas, and - in a powerful sequence based on If This Is a Man - Primo Levi. Other poems are more directly personal, the poet's confessions both wry and tender: 'Your trademark switching the light on / from the bottom of the stairs / wakes the open secret of his / thank you prayer.'
The poet was a British Judo champion but suffered a spinal injury in 1987, as a result of which he is now a ventilator-dependent C2-level tetraplegic. With Otherwise Unchanged, Owen Lowery embarks on a momentous and moving journey.
Awards won by Owen Lowery Winner, 2021 The Poetry Book Society Winter Wild Card (The Crash Wake and other poems)
Praise for Owen Lowery 'These poems powerfully depict the tenuousness of our brief existences...There is solace to be found in Lowery's work, which reminds us that ephemerality is something we can learn to accept, even as we struggle to survive...a moving exploration of precarity'
Ryo Yamaguchi, Poetry Foundation
These are poems of hope and survival against almost unimaginable odds. Following a car crash and a near-death experience in February 2020, Owen Lowery's The Crash Wake presents the latest chapter in his extraordinary and moving life journey.In this unique personal testament, we discover an undauntable and indomitable spirit, as Lowery unflinchingly faces questions such as 'which of us to save / and let go, weigh us all, like snowfall'. In his awareness of the fragility and preciousness of all life, despite and through pain, and by celebrating both the minutiae of experience and the prevailing spirits of personal love and creative energy, Lowery reveals incomparably intimate and detailed insights into the meaning of human dignity, courage and heroism.
'These poems become hypnotic, almost taking the place of the curiosity normally felt when looking at a painting, because they so boldly answer our questions, even our unasked questions.' - Peter Carpenter, The North
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