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Poems, 1960-2000 [Paperback]

Fleur Adcock
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.95
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Book Description

25 April 2000
Fleur Adcock is one of Britain's most accomplished poets. Her poised, ironic poems are tense and tightly controlled as well as shrewdly laconic, and often chilling as she unmasks the deceptions of love or unravels family lives. Disarmingly conversational in style, they are remarkable for their psychological insight and their unsentimental, mischievously casual view of personal relationships. Born in New Zealand, she has explored questions of identity and rootedness throughout her work, both in relation to her personal allegiances to her native and adopted countries as well as her family history, whose long-dead characters she brings to life. She has also written movingly of birth, death and bereavement, and has tackled political issues with honest indignation and caustic wit. This first Collected edition of her poetry replaces her Selected Poems, with the addition of work from her later Oxford collections The Incident Book, Time-Zones and Looking Back. All her most celebrated poems are here, from the highly entertaining 'Against Coupling', 'Smokers For Celibacy' and 'The Prize-Winning Poem' to modern classics such as 'The Ex-Queen Amongst the Astronomers' and 'Things' - as well as the notorious one about kissing John Prescott 'Adcock has a deceptively laid-back tone, through which the sharper edge of her talent is encountered like a razor blade in a peach' Carol Ann Duffy, Guardian 'Most of Fleur Adcock's best poems have something to do with bed: she writes well about sex, very well about illness, and very well indeed about dreaming Her imagination thrives on what threatens her peace of mind, and only when she is unguarded can these threats have their full creative effect. Hence the importance of bed: it is the place where the elegant artful barriers that she builds from day to day are most easily over-thrown Throughout her writing life, she has made a fine art from holding on to principles of orderliness and good clear sense; but she has made an even finer one from loosening her grip on them' Andrew Motion, TLS 'Adcock's reputation has been founded on her spare, conversational poems, in which the style is deceptively simple, apparently translucentthose who see in such poems only flatness are missing the power of a voice which teases both reader and subject' Jo Shapcott, TLS

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Product details

  • Paperback: 287 pages
  • Publisher: Bloodaxe Books Ltd (25 April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852245301
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852245306
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.7 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 377,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You know the name - now read the work 15 Nov 2008
Can I just second the solitary reviews Adcock has garnered so far, both here and on Amazon.com. For somebody who's been writing as long as she has she has to be the best kept secret on the poetry scene. READ HER! And like Porter, Brownjohn et al - and TONY CONNOR (the other best kept secret) - she's still at it! There have always been anthologies of 'younger poets'; we shall soon need an anthology of poetry written by the over-70s. Go, girl!

By the way (Sept '13), Neil Astley's author photo on the back doesn't really do justice to her vibrancy. Like Margaret Atwood or a fine Gevrey-Chambertin, she is aging superbly. Oh to hear her vibrant tones take on the very first poem here: 'even the cactus flower/glows briefly golden'
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Generous selection from a rewarding poet... 30 July 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
(Kareen) Fleur Adcock is one of the most rewarding poets to emerge from the 1960s. A relaxed pace hides a biting wit and psychological perceptiveness.
This comprehensive collected takes us from the slightly contrived air of classicism that pervades her early work, through the more flowing and natural style that emerged in 1979s The Inner Harbour to the beauties of her later work, where technique is all but hidden behind an almost sublime sense of imagary and characters...
Wonderfully put together by Bloodaxe Books with the alphabetic list at the back which, annoyingly, many Bloodaxe collections lack...
That cover makes more sense as you
Highly recommended to poetry lovers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a rewarding reading experience 14 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this collection slowly over many weeks and liked it more the more I read. (I had come across a selection in an anthology, and decided to read more - I did not regret it). I think this increase in enjoyment paralleled the development in the subjects Adcock has treated. As life goes on, there is less about dreams, more about travel, revisiting the past (her own, her parents, her ancestors towards the end of the book), and the present (a spell in hospital; a take on Thatcher's Britain, and so on). This offers calm, peaceful, sometimes amused reflection on all the vicissitudes of life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Special place on my shelf 7 Feb 2011
I don't read much poetry. I discovered Fleur Adcock when I came across her lovely poem "For a Five-Year-Old" (included in this tome) a few years ago and was encouraged to read more of her work. This is a rich volume ranging from fabulously funny and mischievous to truly moving and sometimes compellingly bizarre. I was spell-bound by some of the poems and re-read them over and over again (and will no doubt keep coming back for more).

As I like to read during my daily commute or in a cafe, I did not particularly care for the large format of the edition.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves More Recognition in the US 9 Jan 2008
By Kirsten Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you like Elizabeth Bishop, Raymond Carver, Wendy Cope, or Gerald Stern, you'll appreciate Fleur Adcock's work. She's a native New Zealander now living in England. Her poems are conversational in tone, completely unsentimental, and often funny, with surprising twists and turns. They're also well-constructed with skillful use of meter and rhyme. I'm particularly enjoying her series based on research into the lives of her ancestors. These poems, built upon snippets of history, talk movingly and humorously about our relationship to our forebears. Listen to the first 2 lines of "Nellie:" "Just because it was so long ago" "doesn't mean it ceases to be sad."
You're drawn right in.
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