Carcanet Press Logo
Quote of the Day
an admirable concern to keep lines open to writing in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and America.
Seamus Heaney

All The Poems

Muriel Spark

Cover Picture of All the Poems
Categories: 20th Century, Christianity, Scottish
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Hardback (400 pages)
(Pub. Oct 2004)
Out of Stock
  • Description
  • Excerpt
  • Author
  • Contents
  • Reviews
  • Beads and jewels of long ago look out
    from their dark shopwindows
    like blackberries in a wayside bramble bush
    holding out their arms:
    Take me, pick me, I am dark and sweet,
    ripe and moist with life.

        from 'The Dark Music of the Rue du Cherche-Midi'

    Muriel Spark was a poet before she was a novelist: All the Poems presents the full range of the poetry of one of the most acclaimed modern British writers. Here are villanelles, ballads and epigrams, as well as freer forms, all marked by brilliantly precise observation and command of her medium. Her poems are witty, idiosyncratic and haunting, transforming the familiar into glittering moments of strangeness, revealing the dark music beneath the mundane. The edge of danger and wry insights in Muriel Spark's poems are equally unforgettable.

    'Although most of my life has been devoted to fiction, I have always thought of myself as a poet. I do not write poetic prose, but feel that my outlook on life and my perceptions of events are those of a poet. Whether in prose or verse, all creative writing is mysteriously connected with music and I always hope this factor is apparent throughout my work.'

    Muriel Spark, 2003

    The National Library of Scotland holds the Muriel Spark archive and has just launched a dedicated website. Visit for more information.
    Table of Contents

    A Tour of London

    The Dark Music of the Rue du Cherche-Midi

    The Yellow Book


    Verlaine Villanelle

    Edinburgh Villanelle

    Holy Water Rondel

    The Creative Writing Class

    Authors' Ghosts

    That Bad Cold

    Leaning Over an Old Wall

    Flower into Animal


    Going Up to Sotheby's

    On the Lack of Sleep

    The Grave that Time Dug

    The Pearl-Miners


    My Kingdom for a Horse





    Complaint in a Wash-Out Season

    Litany of Time Past

    The Fall

    Faith and Works


    The Messengers

    Fruitless Fable

    Note by the Wayside

    Mungo Bays the Moon


    The Hospital

    The Empty Space


    Anger in the Works


    While Flickering Over the Pages

    Standing in the Field

    To the Gods of My Right Hand

    That Lonely Shoe lying on the Road

    The Victoria Falls

    Conversation Piece


    Against the Transcendentalists



    The Card Party


    Elegy in a Kensington Churchyard

    Evelyn Cavallo

    The Rout

    Four People in a Neglected Garden

    Like Africa

    We Were Not Expecting the Prince To-day


    Created and Abandoned

    The Goose

    A Visit

    Bluebell Among the Sables



    The Nativity

    The Three Kings


    The Ballad of the Fanfarlo

    From the Latin:

    Persicos Odi

    To Lucius Sestius in the Spring

    Winter Poem

    Prologue and Epilogue

    Muriel Spark was born in Edinburgh in 1918. After some years living in Africa, she returned to England, where she edited Poetry Review from 1947 to 1949 and published her first volume of poems, The Fanfarlo, in 1952. She eventually made her home in Italy. Her many novels include Memento ... read more
    Praise for Muriel Spark 'Mysterious, haunting, meticulously wrought.'
    Stand Magazine

    'Spark achieves precisely what she sets out to: no surprise to us now but pretty impressive given that this was her first book.'
    Zoë Strachan, Scottish Review of Books
    'The style is bracingly familiar – beady, ironic, acidulous... She is an astute critic.'
    Anthony Quinn, Daily Mail
    Like all her work, surprising, beautifully written, and with unnerving glimpses into the abyss which lies, always, beneath our feet.
    - John Mortimer, Evening Standard
    'The marvellous thing about Muriel Spark's writing is never gets knotted up in its own so-sharp-she'll-cut-herself cleverness. Spark's writing has a subtle merriment about it, a lightness of touch, a willingness to share in fleeting moments of mundane love and pleasure.'
    Jenny Turner, London Review of Books
    'Like all her work, surprising, beautifully written, and with unnerving glimpses into the abyss which lies, always, beneath our feet.'
    John Mortimer, Evening Standard
Share this...
The Carcanet Blog Sleepers Awake: Oli Hazzard read more The Miraculous Season: V.R. 'Bunny' Lang, edited by Rosa Campbell read more Egg/Shell: Victoria Kennefick read more The Devil Prefers Mozart: Anthony Burgess read more Eleanor Among the Saints: Rachel Mann read more Sea-Fever: John Masefield read more
Find your local bookshop logo
Arts Council Logo
We thank the Arts Council England for their support and assistance in this interactive Project.
This website ©2000-2024 Carcanet Press Ltd