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I'm filled with admiration for what you've achieved, and particularly for the hard work and the 'cottage industry' aspect of it.
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The stillness of held breath is on the air,
While thunder gathers in the wings of autumn.
I know high cloud will slowly bleach the sky,
Leaves turn to russet, late apples ripen,
And light will never be quite like this again.
from `The End of Summer'
Neil Powell's poems, frequently informed by a topographical or historical sense of place, are rooted in love and friendship, in both celebratory and elegiac modes. They inhabit (to borrow Charles Tomlinson's phrase)
`a peopled landscape'.
His substantial Selected Poems draws on over thirty years' writing. It takes as its dedication Elgar's inscription on the score of the Enigma Variations:
`Dedicated to my friends pictured within'. The poems are drawn from four earlier Carcanet collections: At the Edge (1977), A Season of Calm Weather (1982), True Colours (1990) and The Stones on Thorpeness Beach (1994), as well as previously unpublished work. With its comprehensive scope and chronological arrangement, it stands as an interim Collected.
Andrew Motion described the first book as `a professional, serious, and distinguished
debut'. Of True Colours John Greening wrote in Poetry Review: `Powell catches the windy melancholy of East Anglia, its loneliness, its rigour. His music is always delicately
Awards won by Neil Powell Winner, 2017 East Anglian Writers Book by the Cover Award (Was and Is) Winner, 2017 East Anglian Book Awards (for Poetry)
(Was and Is)
Praise for Neil Powell 'Throughout there are poems to and for friends and yet, paradoxically, Powell has the air of an outsider, solitary and watchful.'
D A Prince, the North
''Neil Powell's Was and Is: Collected Poems gathers together a lifetime of walking, seeing, reading and rhyming the landscapes of eastern England, and in particular the coast of Suffolk. The author's world of friends and books has a wide historical horizon, haunted by literary ghosts from George Crabbe to W.G. Sebald. This is a rich book full of the light of the changing seasons, the rhythms of weather and sea, and the little details of human life that add colour to every corner of these skilful, evocative, and painterly poems.''
Dr Jeremy Noel-Tod (UEA), Poetry judge of the 2017 East Anglian Book Awards
'Like ordinary people, poets long to be loved. But all that is necessary is that they should be understood.'
Roy Fuller 'His poetry has a rewarding range and depth, though memory and our ambivalent handling of memory is what he is best at. He is an elegiac poet, and in some ways a more valuable poet of loneliness than Larkin. Any younger reader who hasn't yet cottoned on to Powell should find this carefully considered 'Collected' rewarding: his is a quiet insistent voice at the heart of the tradition.'
'Neil Powell's poems are lucid, elegant, formal and humane .'
'An exceptional poet of place, and of the East Anglian coast in particular: Neil Powell's Selected Poems thoroughly defines the peculiar atmospheres of that bleak landscape and seascape...'
The Carcanet Blog Joe Carrick-Varty: NPVIII: Meet the Contributor read more New Poetries VIII: Andrew Latimer on Benjamin Nehammer read more Charles Boyle: The Disguise read more Benjamin Nehammer: NPVIII: Meet the Contributor read more New Poetries VIII: Phoebe Power on Jason Allen-Paisant read more Moya Cannon: On Poetry read more
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