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Bad Machine Paperback – 24 Jan 2013

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Bloodaxe Books Ltd (24 Jan. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852249579
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852249571
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 1.2 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 477,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

George Szirtes is the most consistent, prolific British poet. All his collections are challenging and rewarding. Bad Machine is more various, more versatile...At the book's heart is an almost hallucinatory series about the fragility of reality, of life, of the body. --Bill Greenwell, The Tuesday Book, The Independent

A brilliantly virtuosic collection of deeply felt poems concerned with the personal impact of the dislocations and betrayals of history. The judges were impressed by the unusual degree of formal pressure exerted by Szirtes on his themes of memory and the impossibility of forgetting. --Douglas Dunn, on Reel, winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize.

A major contribution to post-war literature - Using a painter-like collage of images to retrieve lost times, lives, cities and betrayed hopes, Szirtes weaves his personal and historical themes into work of profound psychological complexity. --Anne Stevenson, Poetry Review.

Any new collection from George Szirtes will treat its readers to a unique poetic combination: immense versatility and virtuosity when it comes to form, but also a tireless sympathy that dwells clear-sightedly on shocks, traumas and hard-won renewals from a century of migration and massacre. This volume has typically strong-voiced sequences... But its title sequence truly takes the breath away: a meditation on the love and hatred of knowledge, and why fury against literature did not start or end on Nazis' pyres... Read Szirtes to feel the exquisite, excruciating paper cuts of history. --Boyd Tonkin, The Independent, on The Burning of the Books and other poems.

Any new collection from George Szirtes will treat its readers to a unique poetic combination: immense versatility and virtuosity when it comes to form, but also a tireless sympathy that dwells clear-sightedly on shocks, traumas and hard-won renewals from a century of migration and massacre. This volume has typically strong-voiced sequences... But its title sequence truly takes the breath away: a meditation on the love and hatred of knowledge, and why fury against literature did not start or end on Nazis' pyres... Read Szirtes to feel the exquisite, excruciating paper cuts of history. --Boyd Tonkin, The Independent, on The Burning of the Books and other poems.

About the Author

George Szirtes was born in Budapest in 1948, and came to England with his family after the 1956 Hungarian Uprising. He was educated in England, training as a painter, and has always written in English. In recent years he has worked as a translator of Hungarian literature, producing editions of such writers as Otto Orban, Zsuzsa Rakovszky and Agnes Nemes Nagy. He co-edited Bloodaxe's Hungarian anthology The Colonnade of Teeth. His Bloodaxe poetry books are The Budapest File (2000); An English Apocalypse (2001); Reel (2004), winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize; New & Collected Poems (2008); The Burning of the Books and other poems (2009), shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize 2009; and Bad Machine (2013). Bloodaxe has also published John Sears' critical study Reading George Szirtes (2008). Szirtes lives in Norfolk and teaches at the University of East Anglia.

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Graham Mummery TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 21 April 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
George Szirtes is now more than established as one of the leading contemporary British poets. He has won the TS Eliot Prize in 2005 with Reel. Since then he has published a New & Collected Poems and The Burning of the Books and Other Poems, which was again short-listed for the TS Eliot Prize.

Being as prolific inevitably creates expectations. But Szirtes continues live up to, and even exceed, them in this collection which contains the poem "Children of Albion" written around the time of riots in Britain which I remember getting some circulation on the internet. All this has echoes of William Blake, but with a contemporary feel: there are references to i-phones, TVs as well as to political factors. Yet it manages, at the same time, to be more than a political poem as it alludes to a visionary Britain beyond economic, political and social factors. A reminder that Szirtes came here after the Hungarian uprising and maybe still sees Britain as a refuge, as he writes:

"The best of all possible worlds is asleep"

The theme of exile, history and memory has often been a them in Szirtes' work. His last collection contained many poems about how his family history has been affected by events. In this collection there are poems that are about more immediate matters like the body as in the title poem which looks at how it goes wrong with ageing, and another about feet. There are poems about the loss of his father and friends.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
Unentitled. 17 May 2015
By Ian Caton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is so playful and clearly written you forget it's about life/death circumstances. There is an urgency in the voice and in the representations misrepresented. The author experiments with form, creates his/her own forms and the "postcard" as a literary vehicle. Mr. Szirtes has managed to wiggle his way into my heart becoming one of my top 5 living poets of all time, and of these times.
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