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The Canals of Mars
Categories: 21st Century, First Collections
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (240 pages)
(Pub. Oct 2004)
Microscopic: a maze of cells around
A spreading core of sound,
Lost in a gallery of its reflections;
Loosening as it holds, one small motif
For DNA, maps itself, as a leaf
Maps out the tree it is and grows upon.
from 'The Fugue'
The Canals of Mars begins with a poem elegising the poet's father and welcoming his newborn son. It concludes with a moment in which everything 'is finished and about to happen'. Patrick McGuinness's poems in this powerful first collection sharply recreate the beauty and strangeness of inner landscapes. He reveals the fractal patterns within familiar structures: the tree within the leaf, the recurrence that unfolds to create a fugue, how common experience is rediscovered within the newly learnt words of a foreign language. A Welsh drystone wall is built of live air, an extinct Martian world mirrors human suffering, an ultrasound scan images a human baby as a luminous constellation.
Awards won by Patrick McGuinness Long-listed, 2011 Wales Book of the Year, English Language Category in The Western Mail (Jilted City)
Praise for Patrick McGuinness 'When T.E. Hulme was killed in Flanders in 1917, he was known to a few people as a brilliant talker, a brilliant amateur of metaphysics, and the author of two or three of the most beautiful poems in the English language... he appears as the forerunner of a new attitude of mind...'
T.S. Eliot, The Criterion, 1924 'There is a huge amount to savor, learn from and enjoy here. Anyone with pretensions to know British writing of the 1940s should read it.'
Paul St John Mackintosh, TeleRead 'Patrick McGuinness has constructed a rough guide to a lonely planet, full of unquenchable cultural curiosity and irresistible ironies... Alive to every undulation of the linguistic landscapes in which he moves, McGuinnessâs poems often pivot on the cross-cultural possibilities of a single isolated word.'
New Welsh Review
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