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New Selected Poems
10% off all versions
Categories: 20th Century, Scottish
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
(Pub. Apr 2000)
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(Pub. Apr 2000)
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Don't ask me and don't tell me. I was there.
It was a bang and it was big. I don't know
what went before, I came out with it.
Think about that if you want my credentials.
Think about that, me, it, imagine it
as I recall it now, swinging in my spacetime hammock,
nibbling a moon or two, watching you.
from 'Planet Wave'
Edwin Morgan's original Selected Poems was published in 1985. It became something of a classic, selling in excess of 20,000 copies. But 1985 is a long time in the world of so inventive and irrepressible a writer as Edwin Morgan. He has published a new Collected and several individual volumes, as well as his essays and celebrated translations.
This New Selected Poems contains most of the work included in the popular 1985 volume, to which Morgan adds a wealth of later material. The complete sequence of Sonnets from Scotland appears in book form for the first time, the poems gaining in relevance now that Scotland's Parliament has been established. Morgan is the unofficial laureate of the new Scotland. Hitherto uncollected is the ambitious and magnificent Planet Wave, a suite of ten poems covering the history of the earth from the Big Bang to the time of Copernicus. It was set to music by the jazz saxophonist and composer Tommy Smith, and was first performed at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival in 1997.
Morgan is unique among British poets in the range and courage of his experimentation, his openness to the poetries of other languages and to the poetry of science and science fiction. He explores language less as a medium than as an abundant, self-renewing human resource. However spectacular his leaps in time and space, he always comes back to ground in Scotland, in Glasgow, in a present tense which he inhabits with exuberance and hope, and without cultural regrets. He is a celebrator: his work, with its Scottish and European perspectives, is at once sophisticated and popular.
Awards won by Edwin Morgan Winner, 2000 Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry
Praise for Edwin Morgan 'distinctly and excitingly nonconformist [...] they stunningly convey the poet's love for Glasgow. The traditional structure is interjected with Scottish language and anecdotes, making it a thought-provoking read.'
'A broad celebration of one of the most lively and creative writers of his time'
Mike Ferguson, Stride Magazine
'For readers new to Morgan, it forms a perfect introduction, showcasing his fearless experimentation... For those who already know Morgan's work, this selection is a welcome romp of rediscovery. It offers a reminder that he masters every form - from sonnets to strict rhyme schemes with free rhythm to the disintegrating word curtains of some of his early concrete poems - and gilds them all with the humour and humanity that infuse his own effervescent voice.... He never shrinks from the darkness but the shimmering beauty of his words somehow makes it more bearable.'
Fiona Rintoul, The Herald
'Thank God, thank whatever all-seeing quick-witted deity you like, we have Edwin Morgan to show us how to live, and keep living..."pleasure" is nowhere strong enough to convey the joyous energy of his work.'
'Edwin Morgan's translation of twenty-five poems into Scots, now reissued after almost half a century, finesses one difficulty by substituting another. Wi Haill Voice gives Mayakovsky a shout from the streets without making him a Dickensian exercised in dialect - Scots provides the necessary sense of estrangement.'
William Logan, The New Criterion
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