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


Andrew McNeillie

Cover Picture of Nevermore
Imprint: OxfordPoets
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (264 pages)
(Pub. Nov 2000)
Out of Stock
  • Description
  • Excerpt
  • Author
  • Reviews
  • Never a Joseph, nor even a shepherd or wise man
    but some surly angel, train-bearer,
    or escort to a king, without a line to spin,
    to fill a tableau or swell a curtain call,
    so fitting them for life far better than
    brief village stardom might. Enter, shuffling,
    as if nudged into view by war's statistics:
    History's full-backs and reserves.
    Cannon fodder talent-spotted early.

    from 'Extras'

    Nevermore is an elegy for lost times and threatened things. It celebrates recollection and the 'immortality of youth', and youth's passions: for natural history (as in the group of bird poems entitled 'Plato's Aviary'), for the naive curiosity and lust of adolescent 'love', for adventuresome escape (as in the docu-poem rhapsody 'Lines from an Aran Journal'), and for the elusive prize of poetry itself.

    The poems traffic across borders, between the 1950s and 1960s and the present, between Wales, Scotland and Ireland, fish and fowl, coastal town and wilderness, material realities and
    transcendent dreams, and confused claims of cultural identity, Welsh and Scottish and neither.

    Nevermore speaks from a world where family as rural tribe, rooted in place, has given way to a rootless diaspora, its history at risk of erasure, for worse, and for better. It is post-United Kingdom, in a spirit that, if it could make anything happen, would will the good republic into being.
    Andrew McNeillie was born in North Wales and read English at Magdalen College, Oxford before becoming an editor and publisher. For a key period in his life, he was literature editor at Oxford University Press. He has also held a chair in English at Exeter University where he is now Emeritus ... read more
    Praise for Andrew McNeillie 'Striking a Match in a Storm illustrates that McNeillie is one of Wales's leading modern poets, and his work ranks alongside that of Gwyneth Lewis, Robert Minhinnick, Gillan Clarke and Dannie Abse. No anthology of Welsh poetry will ever be complete again without a comprehensive selection of McNeillie's poetry.'
    PC Evans, Poetry Wales
    'The wind blows hard and the sea crashes through his poems, brilliant and evocative of the littoral... [a] multifarious collection. Striking a Match in a Storm demonstrates an outstanding nature writer at the helm of these poems.' 

    Dan McCarthy, Irish Examiner 

    'A living poetic language flows, easy and slangy, the occasional poems which punctuate the later part of the collection are vitalized and real, among them elegies that remember mourning his father's death, and other deaths, which ring true, urged into being by poetry itself.'
    Gillian Clarke
    'The finest poems here are witty and elegiac, comforting and cajoling and speak of pervading human concerns with a rare lyrical ease and quiet authority. McNeillie's special gift is for providing the pleasure that comes from recognition: we can see ourselves in his poems. The book carries an epigram from Wordsworth, and there is a Wordsworthian sense of audience and connection in this collection.'
    Times Literary Supplement
    'There is some extraordinary virtuosity here - in one poem, he finds 33 half-rhymes for 'envy'.
    John Greening, Country Life
Share this...
The Carcanet Blog Why Are You Shouting?: James Womack read more Sidetracks: Bei Dao, translated by Jeffrey Yang read more Polkadot Wounds: Anthony (Vahni) Capildeo read more Ambush at Still Lake: Caroline Bird read more On a New Blue Poets Plaque: E.J. Scovell by Michael Schmidt read more Mary O'Malley: The Shark Nursery 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