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Mandelson! Mandelson! A Memoir

David Herd

Cover Picture of Mandelson! Mandelson! A Memoir
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Categories: 21st Century, First Collections
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (96 pages)
(Pub. Apr 2005)
£7.95 £7.16
  • Description
  • Author
  • Contents
  • Reviews
  • This is a story of life in the age of Mandelson: politician, aesthete, director of communication.

    Is it possible to be happy in the age of Mandelson? Moderniser, trouble-shooter, king-maker, architect of New Labour, power-broker, agent, asset, confidant: Peter Mandelson is emblematically, and maybe literally, the major political figure of our age. But who's happy? Whatever happened, Mandelson! Mandelson! wants to know, to happiness as a political imperative? And whatever happened to the public good? Oh, and while we're at it, how come some people are more answerable than others? And anyway, who said work was more important than pleasure? And what should my end be? And what form should I take? And who's welcome? And who isn't? Mandelson! Mandelson! A Memoir wants answers to these questions and more: an account - why not? - of an unaccountable age.

    Since David Herd began writing this book Peter Mandelson has twice had to resign from cabinet office, and has thrice come back, defying all political gravity. He is unique, amazing, charmed, doomed.

    Mandelson! Mandelson! is formally a various book; this is very much part of its point. It incorporates, among other forms: the sonnet, the villanelle, a noh play, a prose poem, diagrams, pictures, poems in quatrains, lists, haiku-like observations, non-haiku-like observations, free verse, a photograph, a bank statement and a disclaimer.

    Table of Contents


    About These Parts

    My Young Youth

    A Statement of Intent

    In which the Poet, Trying to Come up with a Title for the Book he is Writing, becomes Anecdotal; and his Loyal Companion of Several Years' Standing Helps Out by Throwing a Log on the Fire

    Notes Towards a New Method of Institutional Audit


    Modern Love

    Mass Observation

    On Once Seeing Gary Humes's 'Daffodils' in Hoxton (I Wanted to Whistle)

    To E.P.



    March 9th, 2001

    In which the Poet Speaks of Time Spent in America, while Noting, in Passing, an Alimentary Complaint

    Exile's Letter

    Mass Observation


    Peter's Poem

    Peter! Peter!

    How to Breathe


    My Life

    The Poet's Dream

    In Which the Poet and his Wife Address the State of the Nation


    On First Listening to Mahler's Second Symphony, otherwise known as the 'Resurrection'

    A Builder Sings

    January 20th, 2003

    In Person

    Note to Self

    Shops and Houses

    A Poem by Walter de la Mare

    Two Figures

    To a Friend

    A Note on the Title

    David Herd is a poet, critic and teacher. He has given readings and lectures in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, the USA and the UK, and his poems, essays and reviews have been widely published in magazines, journals and newspapers. His collections of poetry include All Just (Carcanet, 2012) and Outwith (Bookthug, ... read more
       '...a tour de force display of wit and technique, terrific poem after terrific poem.'
    Poetry Review
      'a dizzy and disorienting chain of teasing, clever, breezy challenging, ingratiating, and infuriating poems...there are many poems here that will put a spring in your step, and make your mind dance.'
    Tower Poetry
    'jumbled and energetic, discursive or elliptical, chatty or terse, provocative but playful, haphazard but probing.'
    The Times
    'A scintillating first collection of poems.'
    Scotland on Sunday
    Praise for David Herd '€˜One of the few truly necessary works of poetry written on either side of the Atlantic in the past decade.'
    Los Angeles Review of Books
    'In an era in which the relationship between poetry and politics is rarely subtle, the quiet but insistent linguistic and thematic complexities of All Just carry a rare quality and one that mark it out as that rare thing in the poetry marketplace: an important collection.'
    Nikolai Duffy, The Literateur
    'The difficulty of knowing "where one stands" both in space and affect, whether it requires particularising or details, whether one can choose where one stands, is perhaps the condition of being modern and is explored in All Just in a way that is resonant and haunting.'
    Ann Vickery, Mascara
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