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Selected Poems Michael Hofmann [Paperback]

Michael Hofmann
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

6 Mar 2008
Michael Hofmann's poems have been widely admired, notably for their gift of compressed and vividly pointed reportage, and the collision course of words and dictions that his poetry characteristically provokes. His subject-matter has been equally individual, including his remarkable and complex series of 'father-poems', his subtle portraiture of the lives of others, East and West, together with his acerbic impressionism of contemporary England, and his exploration of Adorno's injunction that 'it is part of morality not to be at home in one's home'.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (6 Mar 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571237746
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571237746
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 19.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 615,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Hofmann was born in 1957 in Freiburg, Germany, and came to England in 1961. He has published four volumes of poems and won a Cholmondeley Award and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize for poetry. His translations have won many awards, including the Independent's Foreign Fiction Award, the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the P.E.N./Book of the Month Club Translation Prize. His reviews and criticism are gathered in Behind the Lines (2001).

Product Description


"'Michael Hofmann is one of the best poets writing in English.' Helen Dunmore, The Observer"

Book Description

A new selection of poems that is a retrospective on a glittering poetic career.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Home in the World 15 May 2010
By Paul D
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Michael Hofmann was born in Freiberg, West German, in 1957, son of German writer Gert Hofmann. The family moved to England in 1961, and Hofmann studied at Oxford and Cambridge, and now works as a freelance poet, critic and translator. He has won numerous prizes, including the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize for his second collection, Acrimony in 1986.

This volume of selected poems is culled from Hofmann's four previous books of poetry, and also includes some new poems, not previously collected. Hofmann writes of experience, of the quotidian, and invests it with a depth and power that imparts to his poems their sense of a shared experience; he writes of the universal in the particular. His poems are about ordinary people doing ordinary things in ordinary places, living, loving, getting a job, fixing a mortgage, making a living. He notices the satellite dishes and tea-towels out to dry and mixes with fat friendly ladies and truanting children / West Indian barbers and Lebanese grocers eating on the job. He writes of decay: Idyll suggests how, once he has moved out of his home, The utilities will be turned off one by one.../ the fridge will stop its buzz.../ever more elaborate spiders' webs will sheet off the corners;/rust stains and mildew and rot will spread chromatically.

But Hofmann is not only about decay; he writes powerfully of the redemptive power of love, and it is these strong, powerful emotions which underpin the best of his writing. In the short Poem he tells that When all's said and done, there's still/the joyful turning towards you.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Out there in the world 27 Jun 2008
By Ben
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a book to have with you on your dusty global travels. Michael Hofmann's poems so often seem to conjure strange moments of psychological tension, whether in Europe, the Americas or the hinterland of the mind.... He stands out like a sore thumb in English poetry; it's a pity that's the case: it shouldn't be. Perhaps because he's (half-?) German, his view point is naturally more internationalist than much of the mainstream poets in the UK and Ireland, who (naturally) like to locate themselves in the (yawn! enough!) lyrical tradition of these islands. Hofmann's influences, more interestingly, range from Lowell's confessional poetry to Paul Bowles's worldly, suspenseful fiction, to Lowry's "Under the Volcano". Personal crises in foreign places; exiles treading water... there are innumerable shades in his dislocated, jaded, yet often loving and amused poems, which somehow marry the open-road freshness of the traveller with playful European high art. I'd raise a mescal to him but... I'm at work.
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