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New and Collected Poems
RRP: GBP 18.95
ISBN: 978 1 847776 29 7
Categories: 21st Century, British
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: July 2012
328 pages (print version)
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (Kindle), Paperback, eBook (PDF)
To stay anxiety I engrave this gold,
Shaping an amulet whose edges hold
A little space of order: where I find,
Suffused with light, a dwelling for the mind.
Clive Wilmer’s New and Collected Poems begins with a fable about the conception, building and destruction of a walled city. It ends with a recent translation of Osip Mandelstam’s ‘Hagia Sophia’, where the great Byzantine basilica is described in terms that recall the heavenly Jerusalem. In between is assembled the work of more than four decades, most of it dominated by a passion for building, a horror at destruction and a fascination with both. In Wilmer’s poetry, intense feeling and powerful images are united with a strong sense of order, which emerges in the intelligence and craftsmanship of the writing.
Readers who think they know Clive Wilmer’s work may be surprised by what they find here. For this volume he has pruned his first two Carcanet collections, given two others in their entirety and added two new books. King Alfred’s Book & Other Poems, has been constructed from a fine group of poems in his 1995 Selected Poems and his small Worple Press collection, The Falls (2000). It centres on three epistolary poems to father figures, which – conversational in tone and formal in composition – make up a sequence here for the first time. Report from Nowhere & Other Poems is a collection of new work, mostly of a fragmentary character, compressed in form, austere in language and powerfully suggestive. To these collections have been added a handful of older poems not previously collected, two fine new occasional pieces and a generous selection of Wilmer’s translations from several languages, notably Hungarian.
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