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RRP: GBP 8.95
You Save: GBP 0.89
Price: GBP 8.05
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ISBN: 978 1 857544 99 2
Categories: 20th Century, Scottish
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: November 2000
216 x 135 x 15 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
With a yell of triumph he finishes the great work;
He slumps back in his seat, exhausted but happy;
Idly, he fingers through it, and reads the very first lines;
Little by little the smile disappears from his face.
From A Bad Day for the Sung Dynasty
The bewildering range of the Scottish writer Frank Kuppner's work, as evidenced in the ten books he published in the last century, is such that many people did not know where to start. Here, for them, is the obvious place to do so, at least where his poetry is concerned: the author selects from his five books of poetry; A Bad Day for the Sung Dynasty (1984), The Intelligent Observation of Naked Women (1987), Ridiculous! Absurd! Disgusting! (1989), Everything is Strange (1994) and Second Best Moments in Chinese History (1997). A fragmented epic, The Kuppneriad, is the encore. Love, China, wisdom, humour, exquisitely variable and visible taste, a compelling reticence about botany: all are here. Or, more precisely, some are here.
His earlier books have been variously received. 'A tour de force of unsense, not nonsense,' Peter Porter opined in the Observer (1989). 'Exuberance, by and large, is a rare enough quality in contemporary British poetry; Frank Kuppner seems to have it and a great deal more besides,' said Eavan Boland in the Irish Times (1987). In the Sunday Telegraph (1990) Charles Palliser declared, 'Kuppner is a kind of Glaswegian Kierkegaard with all the philosopher's anguished wit and playful melancholy but a lighter touch...' And that wise old magazine, Poetry Review, had this to say: 'Kingsley Amis wouldn't like it.'
Praise for Frank Kuppner '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 '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.'
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