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New Light for the Old Dark Paperback – 1 Apr 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 72 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (1 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224089188
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224089180
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 0.6 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 443,062 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Sam Willetts has been through fire and come back, with his own improbable cantor's quorum ready-assembled around him: mystic, junkie, dealer, truant child, Holocaust survivor, son, lover, brother - he is able to make them all sing, in poems of such fluency and force, such holy fortuity of phrasing, they make us want to celebrate even as they make us mourn. A natural like few others" (Henry Shukman)

"This letter is sheer poetry to the bard of no fixed abode" (Sunday Times interview)

Book Description

An extraordinary first collection of poems from an assured new writer

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By mary p on 26 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback
I heard Sam Willetts reading his poetry at the TS Elliot prize and was inspired to buy this book. It is even better on the page; accessible yet giving more and more at each reading. He may be another member of the Oxbridge Poetry Mafia but there is no posing and preening, just beautiful poetry that makes the minutes vanish. I haven't got much money at the moment but this was a wonderful buy - I haven't skipped a single word.
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Format: Paperback
In his first volume of poems ex-addict Sam Willetts writes of the mass killings of the latter half of the twentieth century ranging from the Jewish Holocaust to the world wide drug addictions which today still wipe out thousands of young people. En route Willett glances at the atomic bombing of Japan and imagines the feelings and motives of the German pilots who machine-gunned refugees.
Occasionally the world needs to be reminded of the Nazis murderous attempt to eradicate the Jewish faith. "Ghetto" shows Kazimierz, a town in wartime Poland, whose citizens were gun-pointed onto night trains to Germany and an early death. The town became "a homely Mary Celeste" where silent, empty streets seem to have been "cleared for a showdown that never comes" and it patiently waits for its citizens to return.
A "Necessary" destruction of another kind is shown in "August 9th" where a "squat black four tons" atomic bomb becomes a glorious "sunrise-after-sunrise" over Japan.
In "Tourist" Warsaw has been re-built after the war to an exact replica but the poet thinks its not quite right - like an accident victim whose face has had plastic surgery and he can't quite put his finger on what's wrong with it. He tries to discover the whereabouts of his mother's family but fails. This is probably the problem with the look of Warsaw, there are too many people missing from the scene.
"Digging" describes the agony of an addict searching for a vein; in his desperation he is "spitting prayers through the tourniquet" when he finally gets it "IN" the man shows a "welling gratitude" to God (note the connection to the "pissing blood" spurting out of the vein).
In another poem we turn up "In Hanway Street With Persian Ali" a former bridge designer now short order cook and drug addict.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Robert on 26 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback
Autobiographical verse volumes are commonplace. Great autobiographical sequences are not. This is such a one. Quality and impact comparable to Birthday Letters make it a must read. A must read from which very many lines continue to resonate. But more, verse which illuminates profoundly the readers own life.
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Format: Paperback
Thanks for writing this. I was in the library passing time and I just found this book and opened it to the page with the poem 'digging'. I don't even normally read poetry.What a shocker, but its my darkest fear that I wake up with on sleepless nights, that i'll be that woman who wakes up in ten, twenty years to her life lost. It made me cry and I needed to thank you sam willetts, im keeping it on the wall next to my bed, and it helps.
(I also love the one about the robin flying in)
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