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5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive craftsmanship, 22 Dec 2004
This review is from: Oracle Bones (Paperback)
I hadn't come across James Harpur until this book (I've now bought his previous collections) and dsicovering him proved a delight. The poems are quiet and thoughtful and the handling of language is subtle and assured. I think Harpur is head and shoulders above the many showy or self-publicising poets who have acquired more public recognition.
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4.0 out of 5 stars L'homme propose, mais Dieu dispose - you got a problem?, 23 Dec 2011
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Simon Barrett "Il penseroso" (london, england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Oracle Bones (Paperback)
Harpur is of Anglo-Irish descent, like Ian Duhig, another densely clotted writer who in this displays kinship with your man Muldoon. In Harper's case the default position is religious anguish; his first book veered from the pitch-perfect description of From Fishguard to Rosslare to the embarrassing Victorian genre painting of Christ and the Woman of Samaria. In this, his third, when he takes it to a more mythic level the plangency can be devastating, viz The Delphic Priest, couched in Tennysonian periods suffused with Eliotelian tristesse. Later on he goes from fevered to overwrought and finally lost it (or me; I admit to skipping the interminable Dies Irae) - four stars, though, because when he's not simultaneously navel-gazing and breast-beating, when he admits a discordant note (eg From Fishguard to Rosslare) or, better, allows the darkness to invade his soul (Oisin's Return), he's an absolute revelation
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Oracle Bones
Oracle Bones by James Harpur (Paperback - 1 May 2001)
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