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The World's Two Smallest Humans [Paperback]

Julia Copus
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

5 July 2012
Julia Copus's poems bring humanity and light to some of our most intimate and solitary moments, repeatedly breathing life into loss. In two previous collections, she has been feted as among the most compelling poets to have emerged in recent years; now, in The World's Two Smallest Humans, she is writing at her most captivating yet. These finely tuned poems are the fruit of her upbringing in a musical family, an affinity with the Classics, a fascination with the arc of time, and an unflinching scrutiny of love and personal relationships. Born out of a powerful sense of place, the poems navigate through a beguiling sequence of interior and exterior landscapes, whether revisiting Ovid, negotiating the perils of one composer's attempt to step into the shoes of another or describing, from shifting perspectives, a young girl's escape from suburban ennui. The book concludes with a moving arrangement of pieces that explore the author's experience of IVF: poems written with wry humour and with grace, which celebrate the mysteries of conception alongside the sometimes surreal business of medical intervention. The World's Two Smallest Humans is an unforgettable read.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (5 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571284574
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571284573
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 0.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 209,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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'This is a beautiful, arresting, sympathetic collection... There is something about the control, the high resolution, that gives this book its special, contradictory emotional mixture: it is elegiac and buoyant... The wonder of these poems is that although they could hardly be more personal childhood; the end of an affair; a sequence on IVF treatment there is no self-indulgence and no sense, for the reader, of being an intruder.' --Kate Kellaway, Observer

'Copus's ample stanzas give us a world as intensely realised as a novel, in which life itself seems to be taking place... What her poems of time and change propose runs counter to contemporary habits: hope, they say, is worth the candle, and this quietly powerful, deeply felt book ends with an affirmative for the future: 'I give myself over, shell and shelter, / child, my own.'' --Sean O'Brien, Sunday Times

'A master poet at work. With a characterful blend of the heart-felt and the experimental, delivered in language that is never less than pin-sharp, it is one of the most striking volumes of the year.' --Matthew Richardson, The Spectator

Book Description

An unforgettable and thrilling new voice to the Faber poetry list

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars memory, longing, beauty 12 July 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Wonderful, varied poems in this slim red book. They evoked real feelings of nostalgia and longing in me. I particularly loved An Easy Passage, which won the Forward prize. When I read it I remembered all over again how it felt to be young and on the precipice of life, and I immediately emailed it to friends I'd known since my school days in the hope that they'd remember, too. I found the 'Ghost' poems moving as well. If you or anyone you know has any experience of IVF I'm sure these will touch a cord. After reading the last poem I just sat for a while with the book in my hands, looking at the cover, thinking.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Humane and emotionally articulate 25 Nov 2012
By Graham Mummery TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Julia Copus is one if the most interesting poets writing at the moment, for a combination of insight into emotions, acute observation of life, sometimes including scientific detail, and a wide ranging and subtle imagination. This collection was shortlisted for the 2013 TS Eliot Prize, and deservedly so.

Subjects include love relationships, not least in the final sequence about the poets experience of IVF treatment which looks at the effect of this on all protagonists the couple, medical interventions at the conception and the welcome of the resulting child. These have a poignancy and dignity in them that perhaps seem unlikely when one considers some of procedures in the treatment room.

That said, all these poems are very rooted in the human world, for example, in a poem that describes a past lover, or another describing a sixty year old man on a bus and his life remembering the time of the death of his mother. This poem, "Raymond at 60," consists of two stanzas on facing pages. It's only after reading this that one realizes the poem is a palindrome, where the second stanza has the same lines of the first in reverse. This attests to the virtuosity of the poet's control of her words, because it was not something I noticed until I had read the poem' and then moved on a few pages.

There are also poems that display a good knowledge of the arts, not least a sequence about a composer (not the same story as in the play Amadeus!) living and a reworking of a poem by Ovid. However, perhaps my favorite poem of this collection, and the one for me that is worth the price of the books alone is one called "Heronkind." This is about a slender heron's longing for reaching out to catch a fish.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The World's Two Smallest Humans 5 Aug 2012
By S.F.
Copus has a unique voice which opens up unexpected slants on situations that we think we know well or don't know at all. She takes the reader from the precipice of puberty - into an adult world of hopes and disappointments,and finally reveals the emotional and traumatic journey of 'the World's Two Smallest Humans' through IVF treatment. This poetry collection is insightful, memorable and each poem rewards the reader on many levels.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyable read 27 Dec 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Loved this book, small but beautifully formed. Very well written by someone with a real passion for telling a story through poetry.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Beautiful 25 Jun 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
A beautiful book, from cover to cover. Each word is heart felt and hits straight to the core. Julia Copus's work is so true to life it is almost painful, it is amazing to have poets of this standard writing and working today. She gives insight into some of the most difficult subjects with such skill and integrity. I would buy it over and again!
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