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Edited by Neil Powell
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (144 pages)
(Pub. May 2003)
When Adam Johnson, a young gay man from Cheshire, arrived in London in 1984, he possessed insatiable curiosity, irresistible charm and unfocused literary ambition; when he died nine years later, he had become one of the most accomplished English poets of his generation. This Collected Poems charts that astonishing transformation. Although slender as Collecteds go, it is compelling as a record of a few short years' serious writing. Johnson's poetic imagination, shaped by his close observation of the natural world, proved no less adept at dealing with the ironies and tragedies of urban life. A love of music, painting and literature - of cultural life in all its forms - is matched by a delight in human relationships: many of his poems are dedicated to lovers and friends, across the dinner table or at journey's end. His celebratory relish for lived experience remains undiminished even in his last poems. This edition is prepared largely from the author's signed typescripts and includes previously unpublished work.
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...'
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