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A Little Book of Hours
ISBN: 978 1 857549 70 6
Categories: 21st Century, Catholic, Irish
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: October 2008
216 x 135 x 10 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Here, I thought, is where you must be,
this inland island, hospitium of trees and shrubbery,
low hills and heathland walks, blackbirds and silence; here
I will find you, God Incarnate…
from ‘A Little Book of Hours' by John F. Deane
A Little Book of Hours takes as its starting points John Donne’s ‘No man is an island’ and St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians: ‘For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ’.
In a series of linked sequences, John F. Deane explores the meanings of ‘The Jesus Body, the Jesus Bones’, how each human being shares in a coherent universe in our world broken by wars and violence. Beginning with the simplicities of island life, the book turns to the politics of greed. King David, psalmist and warmonger, stands at the centre of the book, in passages that look at humanity’s destructiveness and creativity. Taking its cue from the Psalms, the book concludes with journeys in search of truth and meaning, and a meditation on guilt and innocence. A Little Book of Hours is Deane’s deepest exploration of the relevance of Christianity to our times. His music praises the beauty of wholeness in the world and mourns what is broken.
Cover painting: Harvest Light (1991) by Tony O’Malley, reproduced by kind permission of Jane O’Malley. Cover design by StephenRaw.com.
Awards won by John F. Deane Short-listed, 2016 Irish Times Poetry Now Award (Semibreve) Winner, 2011 Golden Key of Smederevo award
Praise for John F. Deane 'On a simple level, the poems in John F Deane's Semibreve (Carcanet) are elegies for the past and specifically for a lost brother. More profoundly, they teach us how bereavement, touched by a poet's tongue, can become a shared gift: "wonders of the flesh and spirit, a road-map for a shattered faith"'.
The Guardian 'Music, a stony, damp and deeply alive landscape (both Ireland and the Holy Land), a passionate and searching engagement with God - specifically with the local and physical God that is the central figure of the gospels - these are poems with all of John Deane's familiar richness. A deeply welcome collection.'
Rowan Williams 'Deane is a true poet. I have not space here to do him justice'
Helena Nelson, Ambit 'Deane is an exemplary poet.'
Gerard Smyth, Warwick Review
'The power of Toccata and Fugue lies in its beautiful rendering of unbeautiful things. Deane takes as his subjects what might ordinarily make one turn away: road kill, snared vermin, kittens in a sack weighed with stones for drowning, a seal washed ashore to die, lambs taken for slaughter, worms hooked for fishing and snails tortured by a child. Yet there is nothing pathological about it. Compassion not cruelty motivates the speakers in his poems whose unwavering gaze attests to their engagement with these subjects.'
Georgia Scott, Poetry Salzburg Review Autumn 2002
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