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The Reasoner Paperback – 30 Sep 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Carcanet Press Ltd (30 Sept. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847771467
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847771469
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 13.3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,242,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'These poems are richly suggestive and yet intimidatingly austere... He enacts [a] beautiful casuistry... This is worth the wait. Wainwright keeps his powder dry for the apt occasion, which then ushers the reader back into the maze itself a 'phantasm of order' of this most uncommonplace book.' --Sean O'Brien, The Guardian, 20 October 2012

About the Author

Jeffrey Wainwright was born in Stoke-on-Trent in 1944 and was educated locally and at the University of Leeds. He has taught at the University of Wales, Long Island University in Brooklyn and for many years at the Manchester Metropolitan University, where he was Professor of English until 2008. He is married to Judith Wainwright with whom he had two grown-up children. They live in Manchester and spend some parts of the year in Italy. Jeffrey Wainwright has written many articles and reviews on poetry and two books of criticism, Poetry the Basics (2004) and Acceptable Words:Essays on the Poetry of Geoffrey Hill (2005), and has translated plays by Peguy, Corneille and Koltes for radio and stage.

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Thomas Hardy`s appreciation of the painter William Turner always brings to my mind the Shelleyan tradition of British and specifically English poetry: “What he paints chiefly is light modified by objects.” The poet Jeffrey Wainwright is that rare phenomenon, a contemporary Western poet with a genuinely modest voice. And I have always of recent times seen him as a poet of the chiaroscuro. The reader has to work hard to make out his tones as they loom out of the dense intellectual background to his poetry. From his first slim volume The Important Man (1970) from which key poems were selected for his first substantial Collection, Heart`s Desire (1978), he echoes the beaten gold of Christopher Caudwell`s sparse and self-abnegating vision:
“I lie here for a few hours yet, clothed still
In my external life, flesh I have tried to
To render pure, and a scaffold of bones.

I would resign all interest in it.
To have any love for my own fingered
Body and brain is a luxury.”

Wainwright seems at times in later books almost to be overwhelmed by his philosophical interests, in Out of the Air, or The Reasoner. They continue his musings on History, or battle with History more accurately.
The background out of which his poems grow highlights the musings, but every now and then a moment arises to disperse any over-generality and emerges to echo Husserl in the title to his 2008 book Clarity or Death! (2008), and later in the poem `What must happen”`(2011) to:
“Now all the Sciences of History are at the door
And after a little stun and storm, shock and awe,
Are smiling, shirt-sleeved, making nice: `May we come in,
May we sit down? Look at our invisible hands -

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Immensely varied in tone, style and diction but with a unifying thread of ideas. Stimulating observations with frequentl stunning reverses in the concluding lines.
I am delighted to see an old Leeds University colleague hitting the mark!
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