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In the Country of Birds

James Sutherland Smith

Cover Picture of In the Country of Birds
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Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (96 pages)
(Pub. Oct 2003)
£8.95 £8.05
  • Description
  • Excerpt
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  • I will open a volume of light and shadow
    Where two streams meet. When I turn the pages I will go
    Up through the forest to where trees thin to rowan and juniper,
    Where holy writ is left behind with the jay's bravado.

    There in the grass I might find a nest of lark's eggs.
    The bird will soar through fear not joy; its song diverts
    Come away! Come away! And so I will...
        from 'In the Country of Birds'
    These poems are the fruit of estrangement, in particular from origins. They draw on James Sutherland Smith's experiences of life in the Middle East and Middle Europe; what is most strange, they tell us, is not to be found in exotic locales, but close to home. The poems travel through foreign and domestic parts. They venture into nature, politics, and the self-discoveries and self-deceptions of sexuality. They evoke the allurements of the strange and revulsion at its brutalities. A poem may begin as a purposeful quest but find its meaning in falling by the wayside. It may set out in full possession of its wits and end the journey distracted and unsure. All the poems are marked by a fascination with language and are alive to the textures of the world.
    James Sutherland-Smith was born in Aberdeen in 1948 and was educated at Leeds University. He set up the first Creative Writing Course in English in Central Europe, using writers from Britain and Ireland. His work as a Peacekeeping Manager enabled him to experience first-hand the difficult era of transition in the ... read more
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