5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Poetry of love, life and what it is to be human,
This review is from: Walking Wounded: The Life and Poetry of Vernon Scannell (Hardcover)
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Vernon Scannell was the product of a cold, indifferent mother and a violent father, whose menacing presence shaped much of his life. Scannell and his brother were obliged to take up boxing at a young age when they were evidently more interested in reading books, an occupation viewed with suspicion by their father. Indeed as a young teenager Victor Scannell escaped his fathers clutches by running away and changing his name, but the brutality he learned as a boy stuck with him, always sitting somewhat at odds with the activity that would truly mark him out - poetry.
Scannell was many things, a bigamist, an absconder, a drunk, a wife-beater, but he was also a terrific poet. Arguably, it is his work that best illustrates what it was like to be a soldier in the Second World War. However it is his poems of love, loss and what it is to be human that stay with the reader.
This is a well-crafted biography of a complex man and would be an absorbing read for that alone but with the added bonus of the subjects genius for poetry, the useful introduction and critique of Scannells work by John Carey, as well as a comprehensive selection of his poems, I cannot recommend this book too highly.