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Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (224 pages)
(Pub. Sep 1995)
When brightness leaves the trees they seem to fall
Backwards, deprived of shadows, then rise again in a cool
Diminishment of waiting, solider still.
Which it is possible
Is what they mean whom death makes audible
Beyond our ears and, I feel, as simple.
P.J.Kavanagh's poems are filled with praise, with the minute observations that transform a mood, or the dazzling recollection that can change the heart. 'If description is revelation,' wrote Derek Mahon in the Irish Times, 'his revelatory gift is prodigious. Now is the time to read P.J.Kavanagh.'
The religious sympathies of Henry Vaughan and Thomas Traherne, the earth-love of Edward Thomas, the urbane wit of Louis MacNeice, are three of the many currents that run through his verse, giving it 'that quality of sheer readability' Vernon Scannell noted in the Sunday Telegraph. John Bayley declared, 'there are poets in any age who can give the impression of talk. Kavanagh is a real craftsman at this difficult form.'
The contents of seven collections are included in this comprehensive volume, which traces the poet through three and a half decades and ends with his remarkable human elegy and celebration of a beloved landscape, 'Severn Aisling', described by Frank Kermode as 'quite magnificent'.
'There is plenty of quietly glittering intellect in these poems... he has an eye for rural things, birds, plants, weather; all are subdued to the colour of his own mind, its knowledge of loss, its recurrent perception of the world as a place to which it belongs and does not belong... this collection amply demonstrates Kavanagh's distinguished place among contemporary poets.'
Frank Kermode 'There is plenty of quietly glittering intellect in these poems... he has an eye for rural things, birds, plants, weather; all are subdued to the colour of his own mind, its knowledge of loss, its recurrent perception of the world as a place to which it belongs and does not belong... this collection amply demonstrates Kavanagh's distinguished place among contemporary poets.'
Frank Kermode Praise for P.J. Kavanagh 'To hear the truth so devastatingly and yet so joyfully encountered is rare in an age where autobiography has been flattened by the massed weight of political and public reminiscence. This autobiography, from its beginning to its bitter end, is a celebration of joy: joy in youth, in woman, in male camaraderie, in the struggle of art, in married love.'
Times Literary Supplement 'The pleasure of reading these poems is the pleasure of exceptionally good company. Kavanagh has exactly the right kind of curiosity - neither pedantic nor trifling, but casual in the best sense.'
Wynn Wheldon, Spectator
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