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Second Best Moments In Chinese History

Frank Kuppner

Cover Picture of Second Best Moments In Chinese History
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Categories: 20th Century, Scottish
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (96 pages)
(Pub. Jun 1997)
9781857543100
£9.95 £8.96
  • Description
  • Excerpt
  • Author
  • Reviews
  • 1.


    A slight rustle of leaves on a commonplace summer's day.
    Two hours. Three hours. Four hours. Five hours.
    A rustle of leaves on a nondescript summer's evening.
    The poet suddenly rises and starts his journey home.


    501.



    Slowly dust floats down, onto the palace lakes.
    Charred spars sink deeper into the lush turf.
    Through the wide corridors runs an occasional surf.
    Clearly, one of the final dynasty's final mistakes.
    The 501 quatrains of Second Best Moments in Chinese History make it seem at first like a repackaged version of Frank Kuppner's celebrated first collection A Bad Day for the Sung Dynasty (1984). But it isn't: 'Please note that this is a completely different work, although it is formally identical and very similar in its preoccupations.' Its tone is different -- something to do with maturity and cadencing, which make the laughter and heartbreak more intense, more political. 'Basically,' he confides, 'it is an attempt to get it completely right this time.'


    Frank Kuppner was born in Glasgow in 1951. He has written eleven Carcanet collections. The first, A Bad Day for the Sung Dynasty, was awarded a Scottish Arts Council Book award in 1984. Second Best Moments in Chinese History received the same award in 1997. A novelist as well as ... read more
    'Kuppner's poetry invites us to reflect on human knowledge and the ineffable, trivial nature of existence; it is true philosophy. He makes us think about what it means to be alive.'
    The Independent 
    Praise for Frank Kuppner 'Kuppner has the capacity to state the obvious as if it were the most peculiar phenomenon... Kuppner truly is the laureate of the earnestly and charmingly bamboozled.'

    Stuart Kelly, The Scotsman

       'Goodsir Smith, who drew from poetry from the Far East, shares Kuppner's nimble and fluid ability to code-switch and move from the sublime to the ridiculous in the space of a line or two. The difference is that Kuppner has managed to sustain this for the length of a book of some 120 pages, which is a feat to be marvelled at, and of course enjoyed.'
    Richie McCaffery, The Bottle Imp
    'He writes with the bemused urgency of someone who has only just noticed that nothing whatsoever makes any sense... Kuppner risks playing with bathos and sarcasm, outright silliness and sheer smut...'
    Sunday Herald
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