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Oracle Bones Paperback – 1 May 2001

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Anvil Press Poetry; 1st Edition edition (1 May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0856463256
  • ISBN-13: 978-0856463259
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 14 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,434,964 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


'Harpur is a serious and intelligent poet who deserves to find many readers'Glyn Pursglove, Acumen

About the Author

James Harpur has published two previous collections, 'A Vision of Comets' and 'The Monk's Dream'. He was born in 1956 of Irish-British parents and works as a freelance writer. He has received an Eric Gregory Award, bursaries from the Arts Council and the Society of Authors, and a Year of the Artist award to be poet in residence at Exeter Cathedral in 2001. He was also winner of the 1995 National Poetry Competition.

Customer Reviews

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Format: 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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Format: 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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