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Categories: 21st Century
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (116 pages)
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Let us have no religions, Torquatus, except those which belong
To roads and libraries, to a code of manners whose primary purpose
Is the maintenance of parks and fountains.
Chris McCully’s Selected Poems includes work from 1993 to 2009, a representative selection which reveals his precise craft of language and poetic form. The book opens with the prose-poem ‘Dust’ from his 2009 collection Polder, a meditation on extinction: ‘dust again the voices of the pages and the voices of the lovers’. Other voices follow, conversations in which civility, memories of friendship, art and literature respond to the desolation of dust, asserting what can be created out of it.
In translations from Old English, sonnets, villanelles and ballads, McCully’s supple, sparing verse celebrates the fragile areas in which we live, ‘between space and space – / and both are dark’.
McCully is a keen fly-fisher, a translator of Old English poetry and an expert prosodist; and these skills have miraculously combined so that almost every poem slights on the surface of the reader’s mind with absolute integrity, judgement, and a profound allure - Adam Thorpe, The Observer
Praise for Chris McCully 'This is a commendable and exhilarating book, McCully admirably bringing to life the world of honour, weirdness and creatures beyond our ken.'
Anthony Clay, Chase
'McCully gets the life of words, their swing and weight, resonance and cadence. The poems spark with great lines and phrases...'
Literary Review 'This is a singular collection from a singular voice in English poetry, and I highly commend it.'
Phillip Quinlan, Angle
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