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In Defence of Adultery [Paperback]

Julia Copus
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

27 Feb 2003
The poems in Julia Copus's second collection are imbued with a wry logic and spellbinding resonance. They infuse us with primal stirrings as we read them, sharing in her unease and anxiety but also enlivened by a thrilling sense of personal recognition. They trace the paths of lives and relationships through a world carved out by the choices we make. At the same time, they summon up another world beneath our ever-pressing turmoil of love and family relationships, a parallel world made up of what might have been, as well as what might still be. These strong and vital poems hold science and art, time and timelessness in a tense balance. Dense, elliptical, and suggestive, they throw down a challenge to readers, urging us to be constantly on the move rather than stand still and stagnate.

Product details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Bloodaxe Books Ltd (27 Feb 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852246073
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852246075
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 14.1 x 0.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 201,081 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"The poems of Copus's first collection are already accomplished enough to have won her a number of major prizes.... Highly recommended."

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant collection! 1 Feb 2010
I was attracted to Julia Copus on the basis of just one of the poems in this collection - having bought the book I am delighted with the quality of all the work. She tells the truth with a wonderful touch, her work is not always obvious but never as obscure as some 'leading' poets. I think a quote from William Carlos Williams sums it up:

I wanted to write a poem
that you would understand.
For what good is it to me
if you can't understand it?
But you got to try hard -

January Morning XV

And the poem that brought me here - Kim's Clothes. A brilliant poem emotionally, stylistically and technically.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, tender and haunting 19 Aug 2003
These are intelligent, tender and haunting poems about the way in which we write our own stories and the broken, human ways we find for coping with the choices we make. Julia Copus is a poet of careful enquiry with an almost metaphysical presence of mind. It's true that she uses scientific metaphor (often to brilliant effect) but human concerns remain firmly at the centre of these poems. In 'Lamb's Electronic Antibiotic', for instance, an inventor creates a machine for healing surface infections but the machine becomes also a way of healing his relations with his wife, of clearing the "bad air" between them. These are poems that attempt to make sense of the complexity of life - and in so doing they display an edgy uncertainty. "If the world were black and white entirely," runs the Louis Macneice epigraph that begins this book, "we might be surer where we wished to go/... but in brute reality there is no/ road that is right entirely". Indeed, if the world *were* black and white entirely, there might be little need for poetry like this - little need for art of any kind, in fact. Thank God, then, that it's not and that there is.
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8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not that good 24 Jun 2003
Yes, Julia Copus is very deft and careful with language, but really - what has she got to say? Her poems are like finely worked tapestries that create a boring picture. Read more than half the book and you realise she has a certain set of templates, a certain set of habits, that she uses continually - which takes all the surprise out of her poems - we always know what's coming next. And I can't help feeling that her use of all that scientific imagery (and that cheesy 'provocative' title) is something rather tacked on to make what are essentially dull poems appear more interesting.
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dignified, sharp writing 26 Mar 2003
By A Customer
Too much is made by some critics of the use of new form in Copus's work, as any back-glance at the many pattern poems, including mirror-poems, written since the 13th century. What's new and interesting in this work isn't so much formal technique as it is the precision of language, which is very deft, very finished. It is also intriguing to see this author escaping the overarching influence of Plath (a good influence, obviously, but too heavily worked by too many), and finding genuinely fresh and interesting ways of observing both the exterior world and the emotional world.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Copus is not dead 9 April 2003
By A Customer
Despite the fact that this book is attributed to two Julias, it is in fact the work of only one of them - Julia Copus. This is a spellbinding book, full of startling imagery and innovative forms. Dealing with a fantastic assembly of ideas, Copus keeps the reader's eye riveted to the page - and, what's more, guides the reader's mind through her crystal-clear train of thought. Clarity's a rare thing among modern poets, and it's a relief to read poetry written by a poet who both knows her craft and senses an audience.
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