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Selected Poems (Cape Poetry) [Paperback]

John Burnside
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

2 Mar 2006 Cape Poetry

Over seventeen years and nine collections, John Burnside has built - in the words of Bernard O'Donoghue - 'a poetic corpus of the first significance', a poetry of luminous, limpid grace. His territory is the no-man's-land of threshold and margin, the charmed half-light of the liminal, a domestic world threaded through with mystery, myth and longing.

In this Selected Poems we can see themes emerge and develop within the growing confidence of Burnside's sinuous lyric poise: the place of the individual in the world, the idea of dwelling, of home, within that community, and the lure of absence and escape set against the possibilities of renewal and continuity.

This is consummate, immaculate work born out of a lean and agile craftsmanship, profound philosophical thought and a haunted, haunting imagination; the result is a poetry that makes intimate, resonant, exquisite music.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape (2 Mar 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224078038
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224078030
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 12.7 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 255,458 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Burnside has published seven works of fiction and eleven collections of poetry, including his Selected Poems, published by Cape in 2006. His memoir, A Lie About My Father, was published in the same year to enormous critical acclaim, and was chosen as the Scottish Arts Council Non-Fiction Book of the Year and the Saltire Society Scottish Book of the Year.

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"If genius is operating anywhere in English poetry at present, I feel it is here, in Burnside's singular music" (Adam Thorpe Observer)

"A stunningly good writer of poetry and fiction" (Independent)

"One of the most outstandingly gifted poets in Britain. He, like one of his subjects, is 'turned into the plainsong of the stars'" (Scotsman)

"Burnside has a stillness and emotional restraint, a respect for the observer and observed alike which is serious, exemplary and rare" (Times Literary Supplement)

"I love the way John Burnside looks at the world. He doesn't just look: he watches. He sees into the secret spaces that lie somewhere between the hidden and the revealed... [He] crafts a poetry as precise in its detail, as subtle in its perceptions, as respectful in its attentions as the blade of a brain surgeon's scalpel" (Rachel Campbell-Johnston The Times)

Book Description

'One of the most serious and authoritative voices in contemporary British poetry' - Guardian

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Introduction to John Burnside 13 Mar 2006
If you're new to John Burnside's work, this is a good a place as any to start. 20 of the 36 poems in this Selected Poems are from collections that are out of print (Common Knowledge, Feast Days, The Myth of the Twin, Swimming in the Flood and A Normal Skin), so it's also useful if you're already a fan of John's work and are missing some of these collections.
If you like the pieces in this book, then you should check out his Whitbread Prize-winning collection, The Asylum Dance from 2000, and the marvellous (and out of print) 1994 collection The Myth of the Twin.
John Burnside is one of our few truly necessary poets - who is doing something both vital and important - and this is a good summation of his work to date. Highly Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Selected Poems by John Burnside 5 Mar 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Poetry both upbeat and true to life. The craft of the poet is impeccable. Such poetry is closer to music than it is to prose.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Selected Poems of John Burnside 3 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Poetry never really appealed to me, but this writer has changed my mind. He is a wonderful wordsmith. His novels led me to this, a gift for a dear friend, and it is a wonderful book - buy it!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In Full Voice 15 Nov 2012
By Il'ja - Published on
If you don't usually read poetry, you surely have your reasons; they may even be good ones. In this selection however, John Burnside will test your resolve. These poems and cycles are heartbreakingly good, revealing universes otherwise hidden within our English tongue. And once you've read them through, if you find yourself entertaining the thought of whether it's possible to commit a poem to memory, well, then number yourself among the converted.

He might rightly consider it an insult, but Burnside is a theologian among poets. Sin, grace, and atonement - Augustine, Ignatius, and Thomas Aquinas - ring in every line in the poet's own remarkable timbre.

I dare you to read him and resist the urge to steal a line - here or there - to insert in a letter to someone you love.

A wonderful arrangement by a gifted poet. Do not miss him.
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