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What and Who

C.H. Sisson

Cover Picture of What and Who
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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  • C. H. Sisson abandoned the writing of poetry at the age of twenty, dissatisfied with his performance, only to find himself starting again eight or nine years later on a troopship just off Freetown. That's half a century ago-since when he has written a body of work that includes a superb array of translations, the critical writings (now assembled in three volumes of literary, political and ecclesiastical essays), novels, his autobiography and, at the heart of it, his poetry.

    What and Who marks his eightieth birthday. This substantial collection develops new resources and themes. Since the publication of Antidotes in 1991, his elegies, satires, narrative and lyric poems have concentrated on the themes of age, love and mortality, with their meagre consolations. In What and Who he gives insights into the nature and meaning of the mental and physical worlds.

    C. H. Sisson was made a Companion of Honour in 1993. Carcanet publish many of his books starting with In the Trojan Ditch (1974). Collected Poems (1984) was followed by later volumes of poetry, and four volumes of prose writings: On the Look-out (autobiography), In Two Minds, English Perspectives, and Is there a Church of England? Carcanet also publish his translations, selections of Rossetti, Swift and Taylor, and the novel Christopher Homm.
    Born in Bristol in 1914, C. H. Sisson was noted as a poet, novelist, essayist and an important translator. He was a great friend of the critic and writer Donald Davie, with whom he corresponded regularly. Sisson was a student at the University of Bristol where he read English and Philosophy. ... read more
    Praise for C.H. Sisson `His poems move in service of the loved landscapes of England and France; they sing (and growl) in love of argument, in love of seeing through, in love of the firm descriptions of moral self-disgust; they move in love of the old lost life by which the new life is condemned.'
    Donald Hall, New York Times Book Review
    'I think he is worth a place on the short shelf reserved for the finest twentieth-century poets, with Eliot and Rilke and MacDiarmid.'
    Robert Nye, the Scotsman
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