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Five Books of Marriage Paperback – 12 Jun 2008
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Achingly good ... an absolute pleasure.
-- Zinta Aistars (poet and editor, The Smoking Poet)
Dark, sexy and uncompromising - Harry Owen's poetry floodlights the secret corners of our relationships and personal histories. Unexpected imagery and fantastic observation are expressed with dry humour and a distinctive voice. -- Jo Bell (Co-ordinator, UK National Poetry Day)
Harry Owen crafts a moving collection of poetry in which he's willing to open up his own life to give us an honest look at happiness, love, complaisance, disappointment and redemption. Five Books of Marriage moves from being the song you put on when feeling melancholy, to the one you put on when the warmth returns ... The poems stay with you like a song. -- Ray Melnik (author of 'The Room')
Restrained, personal, ebullient and often harrowing verse, refracted through a variety of symbols, many from rural England.
Written about matters of the heart, never maudlin - steely virile unpretentious poetry that confronts the reader with all the universal human relationship stuff: eyeball to eyeball. -- John Ballam in 'Wordstock', 2 July 2008
'Dark, sexy and uncompromising - Harry Owen's poetry floodlights the secret corners of our relationships and personal histories. Unexpected imagery and fantastic observation are expressed with dry humour and a distinctive voice.' Jo Bell (Co-ordinator, National Poetry Day) Five Books of Marriage, Harry Owen's powerful third full collection, explores the course of a relationship from its early days through the sadness and pain of a marriage's breakdown and divorce to the finding again of a life and happiness beyond. It is hard. It is honest. It is real. This poetry is filled with anger and joy, confusion and understanding, despair and burning optimism. It is both intensely individual and entirely recognisable, Owen's finely crafted verse coaxing the universal from the personal in a celebration of life's possibilities. 'Achingly good ...an absolute pleasure.' Zinta Aistars (poet and editor, The Smoking Poet) 'The poems stay with you like a song.' Ray Melnik (novelist) www.harry-owen.co.uk www.myspace.com/harrythepoetSee all Product description
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An unflinchingly direct appraisal of love and relationships that goes, as all the best poetry should, beyond the intensely personal to something universal. It is those poems, both tough and tender, that are central to this fine collection, but alongside them are other works no less absorbing in their rich array of subject matter. That this collection is as technically inventive as it is lyrically rewarding will come as no surprise to those familiar with Harry Owen's previous writing.
What else can you expect from a man who became the first-ever Poet Laureate for Cheshire back in 2003? His works have been published in several magazines and been broadcast on BBC Radio. He's proven that music and poetry can be successfully spliced with his CD, "A Window in my Diary" and he's featured alongside other great Cheshire Poet Laureates past in the creative and wonderful "A Bunch of Fives" performance tour.
Harry's magic is something that can't be described, really. Only read and heard in order to be understood and appreciated. Anything and everything is his inspiration; the environment, pollution, war, fashion, everyday things...you name it, he can use it for source material. His vocabulary, narrative and insight make him a true craftsman, a poet that knows how to have the reader hooked from start to finish.
It's the same here with his latest collection of poems. "Five Books of Marriage". It's a cracking example of the therapeutic aspect of writing, using it to make oneself feel better and also produce some staggeringly good poetry at the same time.
The theme of the collection deals with relationships. In this case, how they can start off beautifully, sadly break down and lead to divorce. Yet hope lies in people finding happiness again with new love, now and forever. Owen's real-life experience and writing skills make the collection a success, in regards to believability and creativity. Five Books of Marriage was heart-warming to read because of its emphasis on hope, yet not ignoring the constant despair that threatens to drown us all, making it all the more credible.
Really, all the poems are an absolute joy to read but the highlights for me were definitely "Verb", "Mute", "Elephant Dung", "The Santa Special", "Losing Friends", "Tight", "Changeling", "Tesco's Finest", "Intercourse: Painting the Walls Black", "I Would Like to Die", "Decision Time", "The Law", "Forty Years On," and "Love at Long Distance". There's no such thing as a terrible poem here (obviously, since Harry doesn't know how to write terrible poems), as they're all first-class pieces of writing, but the ones I've mentioned are definitely the most outstanding.
Five Books of Marriage is Harry Owen's best collection of poetry to date, because of its theme, the part of his soul that's been transferred to the pages, and his typical imagery and unforgettable verses. Essential for all poetry lovers and fascinating and inspiring to all writers, just like the man himself. Highly recommended.
I thoroughly enjoyed this moving and intelligent collection. It was well written and results in poetry you can almost touch, or at the very least touches you. Five Books of Marriage moves from being the song you put on when feeling melancholy, to the one you put on when the warmth returns.
Novelist, Ray Melnik