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New & Collected Poems [Paperback]

George Szirtes
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

29 Nov 2008
George Szirtes came to Britain as an eight-year-old refugee after the Hungarian Uprising in 1956. Educated in England, he trained as a painter, and has always written in English. This comprehensive retrospective of his work covers poetry from over a dozen collections written over four decades, with a substantial gathering of new poems. It is published on his 60th birthday at the same time as the first critical study of his work, "Reading George Szirtes" by John Sears. Haunted by his family's knowledge and experience of war, occupation and the Holocaust, as well as by loss, danger and exile, all of Szirtes' poetry covers universal themes: love, desire and illusion; loyalty and betrayal; history, art and memory; and, humanity and truth. Throughout his work there is a conflict between two states of mind, the possibility of happiness and apprehension of disaster. These are played out especially in his celebrated long poems and extended sequences, "The Photographer in Winter", "Metro", "The Courtyards", "An English Apocalypse" and "Reel", all included here.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 520 pages
  • Publisher: Bloodaxe Books Ltd; Reprint edition (29 Nov 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852248130
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852248130
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.5 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 501,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

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

Szirtes is increasingly revealed as a major English poet - one of those in whom insight and technique combine to focus more and more productively as the years go by. --Hugh Macpherson, Poetry Review

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 gnes 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) and The Burning of the Books and other poems (2009). 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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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dazzling 27 Mar 2009
Format:Paperback
This collection is written by a poet who grew up in England though is Hungarian in origin. The poems have the sparkling brightness of Englishness, the sense of delight in the ordinary, but they are not wholly English. The light casts shadows, and the shadows are Central European, from some of the darkest corners of European history. Metro is one of the finest, most personal meditations on that history I have ever read.

The poetry is intelligent, deeply humane, insightful and, most importantly, beautiful. Each demands thought, leading you into a world illuminated by extraordinary powers of observation. It is a delight; loving but haunted. Szirtes is a significant poet.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to his poetry. 27 Dec 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
Szirtes is surely one of the best poets writing in England today. This collection spans decades and gives a great insight into his development as an artist. It also gave me an idea of recurring themes across his collections, and made me eager to read more. Here is compassion, insight and occasional flashes of humor and all in the knowledge that we are capable of tremendous destruction. A great collection.
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