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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who would have thought he had it in him?
Having seen Owen Sheers in a number of entertainment programmes for Welsh television, and in a number of pantomimes in both Cardiff and Swansea (many of those familiar with his poetry are unaware of his career as a family entertainer) I was pleasantly surprised to see that he has finally gotten around to publishing a book of his very moving poems. And there is no room...
Published on 1 Aug. 2001

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Surely not as bad as all that
This book certainly does not justify the hyperbole awarded to it. One doesn't have to go back as far as Hughes or Muldoon to look at better first collections...how about Paul Farrelly or Kate Clanchy (both on Picador, which should tell you something.) However, I think the above reviewer is unfair to Sheers. The reviewer's comments about literary star-making are not...
Published on 14 Dec. 2000


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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who would have thought he had it in him?, 1 Aug. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Blue Book (Paperback)
Having seen Owen Sheers in a number of entertainment programmes for Welsh television, and in a number of pantomimes in both Cardiff and Swansea (many of those familiar with his poetry are unaware of his career as a family entertainer) I was pleasantly surprised to see that he has finally gotten around to publishing a book of his very moving poems. And there is no room here for the kind of silly banter and larking about that his larger audience in Wales are used to. Here the subjects are love, life, and that very abstract notion of home that is common in Welsh literature. I was also pleased to see, from the author photograph on the back cover, that he has shaved off his moustache!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Promise, 28 Jun. 2009
By 
A. Thomas (Mid=Wales) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Blue Book (Paperback)
The Blue Book

I doubt if there is a better young poet in Britain than Owen Sheers. If he fulfils the promise he shows in "The Blue Book" he will eventually rank alongside such great Welsh poets of the 20th century as Dylan Thomas and R.S. Thomas. His poems are intimate yet universal and sometimes tackle matters that make us squirm: eg, a vet putting an old horse out of its misery and crows plucking at a dead man's eyes. Immediately after finishing "The Blue Book" I placed an order for his second collection, "Skirrid Hill".
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Surely not as bad as all that, 14 Dec. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Blue Book (Paperback)
This book certainly does not justify the hyperbole awarded to it. One doesn't have to go back as far as Hughes or Muldoon to look at better first collections...how about Paul Farrelly or Kate Clanchy (both on Picador, which should tell you something.) However, I think the above reviewer is unfair to Sheers. The reviewer's comments about literary star-making are not misplaced, nor are his comments on the quality of Motion's work. In fact, I'm not sure how good/honest a biographer Motion really is (see "Philip Larkin - A Writer's Life.")But Sheers' first collection struck me as being the work of a reasonably talented, if very young, writer. The book does not deserve to be rubbished just because it has been overhyped - Owen Sheers cannot help it if other people overpraise him - and there are some strong pieces of writing here. Quite what the consequences will be of the media circus as regards his longer-term development is anyone's guess. Though the asymptotic curve described by Tobias Hill's poetry since his first collection was published and overhyped three years ago does not bode well.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow! Can I play?, 9 Jan. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Blue Book (Paperback)
...Who cares if it's over-hyped or not - thank goodness there are some poets around who get noticed at all, and who stir us all up now and then.
And I've only given The Blue Book four stars to allow Sheers room to go upwards from here, rather than down Tobias Hill's alleged "asymptotic curve." {Congrats on that one, by the way, London).
I like Andrew Motion, I like Tobias Hill, I like The Hawk in the Rain, and I like the fact that Owen Sheers writes poetry, READS poetry and has an evangelical zeal about poetry. I like the fact that the few new poems of his I've seen are looking good, and I like the fact that he's going to get better...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 20 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: The Blue Book (Paperback)
wonderful! I read the whole book every night
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5.0 out of 5 stars Blue book. Owen Sheers, 3 May 2015
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This review is from: The Blue Book (Paperback)
Loved it, condition as new. Very pleased.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Blue Book, 12 Mar. 2010
By 
M. Riva (Glasgow, Scotland, U.K.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Blue Book (Paperback)
A fantastic 1st collection of poetry which seems very personal, almost autobiographical. I particularly love the poems about family members- touching poems about his mother and poignant poems about his grandfather and his death.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as all that either, 18 Dec. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Blue Book (Paperback)
i've just come across what might be a useful debate and I felt like joining it. I am a poet myself and if I'm honest I'd have to say that I'm very jealous of Sheers' success, not least because I think the work in this book is of a standard that can be found anywhere at the moment. These are nice little vignettes, little character studies to "capture" something - a kind of Poetry that Ted Hughes popularised, and which one can learn to do, more or less, from his book "Poetry in the Making" - and Sheers seems as though he's quite carefully developed his craft. So I think that although some people might go over the top condemning him, they would have a point if they showed how much this is "artificial", and not particularly inspired or original stuff.
Sheers' defenders can't pretend that, if criticised, "he's a victim of hype" and "it's not his fault if people praise him". On the contrary, he's set out quite clearly that he thinks poetry should be more interested in marketing itself (he says so on his website), he's got himself a powerful agent, and muscled in on things. It's interesting that he's won more awards than open competition - clearly he networks. And it's interesting that the Forward Prize judges gave their first collection award to someone else (an unknown in comparison to Sheers), even after Sheers had got himself some very favourable press from the Guardian. If you set yourself up like this, rated only by your friends, naturally there are going to be sceptics.
You'd be right if you said Kate Clanchy wrote a better debut than this (but wrong if you said it was with Picador - her first was Chatto and Windus, "Slattern", and only her second "Samarkand", a much inferior book, was with Picador) but Sheers is still much younger than most of us. Buy "The Blue Book" to store away for the future, because he may go on to do something much, much better. But look elsewhere for the Best Young British Poet.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Bleurrggh Book, 8 Nov. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Blue Book (Paperback)
It might become obvious as we go on, but I ought to declare myself now:
I do not think this book is very good.
British Poetry is not an indestructable environment, and yet publishers keep releasing this sort of toxic gas. From its lazy, faux-modernist title to the last of Sheers' dreary and formless jottings, this is an exceptionally depressing encounter. The subjects are unengaging. Memories of mumsie and Oxford are interspersed with evocations of Wales and Fiji. The images employed (bow-tie like a fish?) manage somehow to be both wildly inaccurate and dull. The metre is the metre of turgid prose.
If this description reminds you of someone, perhaps that's Andrew Motion, the excellent biographer. Having taught Sheers "how" to write poetry, seen him to a very capable agent (Vogue book of the month? Owen seems a good-looking boy, but...)and had him established on the A-list for Radio 4's Poetry Day, the similarities in their work are hardly surprising. And yet Motion doesn't sell; and has no recognisable public. Why follow in such mediocre footsteps?
The answer that Sheers gives in this debut collection is, why not? He doesn't have the originality, the humour, or the intellectual power to make a distinctive statement. Compare it to "The Hawk In The Rain" by Ted Hughes, or Paul Muldoon's "New Weather", both truly ground-breaking debuts. Everything you come across in this book will seem like something you've read somewhere before. Only it seemed better then...
How much more of this irrelevancy which declares itself relevant can the poetry market take before contemporary poetry just disappears from the shelf?
P.S. Perhaps readers will be inclined to dismiss this as lunatic polemic sketched with jealousy and contempt for the merely new. I assure them that if they care about poetry as literature, not as hobby, they will be overwhelmingly disgusted by the quality of this book.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting read, 5 Nov. 2009
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This review is from: The Blue Book (Paperback)
Some genuinely moving poems in what seems to be a very personal collection.I look forward to reading more by this poet..
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The Blue Book
The Blue Book by Owen Sheers (Paperback - 1 Feb. 2000)
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