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Mandelson! Mandelson! A Memoir
Categories: 21st Century, First Collections
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (96 pages)
(Pub. Apr 2005)
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
'...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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