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Sean O'brien - Author

About the Author

Sean O’Brien is a poet, critic, playwright, broadcaster, anthologist and editor. He grew up in Hull and now lives in Newcastle upon Tyne. He is Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University.

Featured books by Sean O'brien

November

November

Author: Sean O'brien Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/04/2011

Shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize for Poetry 2011. November is Sean O'Brien's first collection since his widely celebrated The Drowned Book, the only book of poetry to have won both the Forward and T. S. Eliot prizes. November is haunted by the missing, the missed, the vanished, the uncounted, and the uncountable lost: lost sleep, connections, muses, books, the ghosts and gardens of childhood. Ultimately, these lead the poet to contemplate the most troubling absences: O'Brien's elegies for his parents and friends form the heart of this book, and are the source of its pervasive note of depart. Elsewhere as if a French window stood open to an English room the islands, canals, railway stations and undergrounds of O'Brien's landscape are swept by a strikingly Gallic air. This new note lends O'Brien's recent poems a reinvigorated sense of the imaginative possible: November shows O'Brien at the height of his powers, with his intellect and imagination as gratifyingly restless as ever.

Other books by Sean O'brien

Quartier Perdu

Quartier Perdu

Author: Sean O'brien Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 26/04/2018

Europa

Europa

Author: Sean O'brien Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 19/04/2018

Europa, Sean O'Brien's ninth collection of poems, is a timely and necessary book. Europe is not a place we can choose to leave: it is also a shared heritage and an age-old state of being, a place where our common dreams, visions and nightmares recur and mutate. In placing our present crises in the context of an imaginative past, O'Brien show how our futures will be determined by what we choose to understand of our own European identity - as well as what we remember and forget of our shared history. Europa is a magisterial, grave and lyric work from one of the finest poets of the age: it shows not just a Europe haunted by disaster and the threat of apocalypse, but an England where the shadows lengthen and multiply even in its most familiar and domestic corners. Europa, the poet reminds us, shapes the fate of everyone in these islands - even those of us who insist that they live elsewhere.

Europa

Europa

Author: Sean O'brien Format: eBook Release Date: 19/04/2018

Europa, Sean O'Brien's ninth collection of poems, is a timely and necessary book. Europe is not a place we can choose to leave: it is also a shared heritage and an age-old state of being, a place where our common dreams, visions and nightmares recur and mutate. In placing our present crises in the context of an imaginative past, O'Brien show how our futures will be determined by what we choose to understand of our own European identity - as well as what we remember and forget of our shared history. Europa is a magisterial, grave and lyric work from one of the finest poets of the age: it shows not just a Europe haunted by disaster and the threat of apocalypse, but an England where the shadows lengthen and multiply even in its most familiar and domestic corners. Europa, the poet reminds us, shapes the fate of everyone in these islands - even those of us who insist that they live elsewhere.

Holly and Ivy

Holly and Ivy

Author: Sean O'brien Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/10/2017

Once Again Assembled Here

Once Again Assembled Here

Author: Sean O'brien Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 27/07/2017

Stephen Maxwell has just retired from a lifetime spent teaching history at his alma mater. As he writes the official history of Blake's, a minor public school steeped in military tradition, he also reveals how, forty years ago, a secret conflict dating from the Second World War re-enacted itself among staff and pupils, when fascism once more made its presence felt in the school and the city, with violent and nightmarish results.

Afterlife

Afterlife

Author: Sean O'brien Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 17/11/2016

The seventies. Summer. Four students in a cottage in the middle of nowhere. Two young American women, one hell-bent on destruction. Alcohol, LSD, sex, jealousy, infidelity and poetry. At the end of the summer, one of the four students will be dead, and another will be destroyed by his inability to let go of past memories, guilt and bitterness. 'A cracker' Evening Standard 'Chills to the bone' Independent on Sunday 'Rich and powerful' Daily Mail 'Afterlife positively throbs with loss ...It's a deeply absorbing novel that lingers in the mind like the ghosts it so ardently evokes' Claire Kilroy Irish Times 'A richly rewarding portrait of friendships under siege, full of vibrant characters and atmospheres that linger in the mind and the heart' Sunday Telegraph

Once Again Assembled Here

Once Again Assembled Here

Author: Sean O'brien Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/07/2016

Stephen Maxwell has just retired from a lifetime spent teaching history at his alma mater. As he writes the official history of Blake's, a minor public school steeped in military tradition, he also reveals how, forty years ago, a secret conflict dating from the Second World War re-enacted itself among staff and pupils, when fascism once more made its presence felt in the school and the city, with violent and nightmarish results.

Beltrunner

Beltrunner

Author: Sean O'brien Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 22/02/2016

The Drowned Book

The Drowned Book

Author: Sean O'Brien, Helen Dunmore Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 18/06/2015

With an introduction by Helen Dunmore Come for a walk down the river road, For though you're all a long time dead The waters part to let us pass The way we'd go on summer nights In the times we were children And thought we were lovers. The Drowned Book is a work of memory, commemoration and loss, dominated by elegies for those the author has loved and admired. Sean O'Brien's exquisite collection is powerfully affecting, sad and often deeply funny; but it is also a dramatically compelling book - disquieting, even - and full of warnings. As the book unfolds, O'Brien's verse occupies an increasingly dark, subterranean territory - where the waters are rising, threatening to overwhelm and ruin the world above. Winner of both the T. S. Eliot and Forward prizes, The Drowned Book is an extraordinary collection, a classic from one of the leading poets of our time.

The Beautiful Librarians

The Beautiful Librarians

Author: Sean O'brien Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/03/2015

Each poem in Sean O'Brien's superb new collection opens on a wholly different room, vista or landscape, each drawn with the poet's increasingly refined sense of tone, history and rhetorical assurance. The Beautiful Librarians is a stock-taking of sorts, and a celebration of those unsung but central figures in our culture, often overlooked by both capital and official account. Here we find infantrymen, wrestlers, old lushes in the hotel bar - but none more heroic than the librarians of the title, those silent and silencing guardians of literature and knowledge who, the poet reminds us, also had lives of their own to be celebrated. Elsewhere we find a 12-bar blues sung by Ovid, a hymn to a grey rose, a writing course from hell, and a very French exercise in waiting. A book of terrific variety of theme and form, The Beautiful Librarians is another bravura performance from the most garlanded English poet of his generation.

Opening Doors within the Margin

Opening Doors within the Margin

Author: Sean O'brien Format: Hardback Release Date: 28/05/2013

Opening Doors within the Margin

Opening Doors within the Margin

Author: Sean O'brien Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/05/2013

Irish Americans in the Confederate Army

Irish Americans in the Confederate Army

Author: Sean O'brien Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 15/04/2013

In 1861, Americans on both sides flooded to enlist for what all thought would be a short and glorious war. Anxious to prove their loyalty to their new homeland, thousands of America's Irish immigrant population were among those who hurried to join the fight on both sides. While the efforts of the Union's legendary Irish Brigade are well documented, little has been said regarding the role Irish American soldiers played for the Confederacy. This comprehensive history explores the Irish contribution to the Confederate military effort throughout the four major combat theatres of the Civil War. Beginning with an overview of Irish Americans in the South, the book looks at the Irish immigrant experience and the character of the typical Irish Confederate soldier, detailing the ways in which Irish communities supported the Southern war effort. The main focus is the military actions in which Irish American soldiers were present in significant or influential numbers. With a combat death rate disproportionate to their numbers, the 40,000 Irish who served in the Confederate army played significant roles in the Army of Northern Virginia, the Army of Tennessee, the hotly disputed coastal areas and the Mississippi and Trans-Mississippi campaigns. Most major battles of the war are discussed including Manassas, Sharpsburg, Gettysburg, Shiloh, Murfreesboro and Appomattox. Appendices contain a list of various Irish commands and field commanders in the Confederate Army.

Vale of Stars

Vale of Stars

Author: Sean O'brien Format: Paperback Release Date: 12/12/2012

Collected Poems

Collected Poems

Author: Sean O'brien Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/11/2012

This collection, drawing on almost forty years of verse, represents the definitive guide to one of the leading English poets working today. It will allow the reader the chance to survey both the remarkable variety and the consistent quality of O'Brien's work, as well as the enduring strength of his obsessions: these have helped create a tone and a landscape as immediately recognizable as those of MacNeice, Larkin or Eliot. O'Brien's hells and heavens, underworlds and urban dystopias, trains and waterways have formed the imaginative theatre for his songs, satires, pastorals and elegies; throughout, the poems demonstrate O'Brien's astonishing flair for the dramatic line, where he has inherited the mantle of W. H. Auden. Also included are selections from both O'Brien's dramatic writing and his acclaimed version of the Inferno.

Journeys to the Interior

Journeys to the Interior

Author: Sean O'brien Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/04/2012

In this innovative series of public lectures at Newcastle University, leading contemporary poets speak about the craft and practice of poetry to audiences drawn from both the city and the university. The lectures are then published in book form by Bloodaxe, giving readers everywhere the opportunity to learn what the poets themselves think about their own subject. Where and what is the England in which we imagine we live? How do we authenticate this never-to-be-finished project? What are its imaginative origins, and how do contemporary poets stand in relation to those predecessors such as Eliot, Auden, Larkin and Hughes whose imaginary Englands have left such an imprint on the culture? Journeys to the Interior considers the work of a range of contemporary poets, including Peter Didsbury, Carol Ann Duffy, Paul Farley, Roy Fisher, Daljit Nagra, Jo Shapcott and George Szirtes, examining areas of dissent and signs of affirmation. Can England be seen as, in Langland's words, 'a fair field full of folk'? Is Englishness a matter of 'complicated shame', as Jo Shapcott put it? How do those born elsewhere who have made their homes here describe the experience of England? And if, as Auden said, 'all the poet can do is warn', what warning signs are poets receiving and transmitting in this period of doubt and anxiety?

November

November

Author: Sean O'brien Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/04/2011

Shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize for Poetry 2011. November is Sean O'Brien's first collection since his widely celebrated The Drowned Book, the only book of poetry to have won both the Forward and T. S. Eliot prizes. November is haunted by the missing, the missed, the vanished, the uncounted, and the uncountable lost: lost sleep, connections, muses, books, the ghosts and gardens of childhood. Ultimately, these lead the poet to contemplate the most troubling absences: O'Brien's elegies for his parents and friends form the heart of this book, and are the source of its pervasive note of depart. Elsewhere as if a French window stood open to an English room the islands, canals, railway stations and undergrounds of O'Brien's landscape are swept by a strikingly Gallic air. This new note lends O'Brien's recent poems a reinvigorated sense of the imaginative possible: November shows O'Brien at the height of his powers, with his intellect and imagination as gratifyingly restless as ever.

Andrew Marvell

Andrew Marvell

Author: Sean O'Brien, Andrew Marvell Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/08/2010

In this series, a contemporary poet selects and introduces a poet of the past. By their choice of poems and by the personal and critical reactions they express in their prefaces, the editors offer insights into their own work as well as providing an accessible and passionate introduction to some of the greatest poets of our literature. Andrew Marvell was born in Yorkshire in 1624 and was educated in Hull and Cambridge. He became the unofficial laureate to Cromwell and in 1657 he took over from Milton as the Latin Secretary to the Council of State. Famed as a satirist during his lifetime Marvell was a virtually unknown lyric poet until rediscovered in the nineteenth century. However, it was only after the First World War that his poetry gained popularity thanks to the efforts of T. S. Eliot and Sir Herbert Grierson. Marvell died in 1678.

The Trial Hoosier Style

The Trial Hoosier Style

Author: Sean O'brien Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/08/2006

Ellipsis Comma Modern Shorts

Ellipsis Comma Modern Shorts

Author: Sean O'Brien, Jean Sprackland, Tim Cooke Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/06/2005

Keepers of the Flame

Keepers of the Flame

Author: Sean O'brien Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/10/2003

A brilliant new thriller about poetry and fascism In the 1930s a young poet and patriot, Richard Jameson falls in love with the socialist daughter of Sir Henry Exton, a powerful media mogul. But in courting her, he finds himself embroiled in a fascist struggle for influence over the heart of the establishment. After Thatcher sweeps to victory during the 1980s, Jameson is on the verge of being rescued from obscurity, but finds the ghosts of his fascist past have not been laid to rest. Sean O'Brien's new play dramatises the literary history and politics of the 1930s and 1980s and asks chilling questions about the historical possibility of a fascist Britain.

Cousin Coat Selected Poems 1976?2001

Cousin Coat Selected Poems 1976?2001

Author: Sean O'brien Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 11/10/2002

Sean O'Brien is widely acknowledged as one of the most gifted English poets now writing, and as a leading poet-critic. Cousin Coat collects the best of O'Brien's work to date; long-time O'Brien aficionados will be grateful to have so much of the early work available again, while recent converts will be delighted to find that O'Brien's boisterous wit, intelligence and astonishing technical fluency were as much in evidence at the outset of his career as they are now. While some of O'Brien's mises en scene and dramatis personae have remained constant over the years - the urban dystopia, the train, the rain, the underground, the canal, the lugubrious procession of conductors, policemen, head teachers and detectives - their shadows have deepened with O'Brien's sense of their historicity and mythic power. His imaginative landscape has become impressively varied: as well as blackly paranoid fantasy and scabrous political critique, O'Brien's work now encompasses English pastoral, comic set-piece and metaphysical lyric, and shows a growing fascination with song-form and dramatic verse. Cousin Coat represents the best introduction to one of the most significant English poets of the last thirty years. `The bard of urban Britain' The Times `A collection which holds numerous satisfactions for anyone with a sense of humour and a political consciousness' Guardian on Ghost Train `The most invigorating new book of poems I've read this year' Sunday Telegraph on Downriver

Downriver

Downriver

Author: Sean O'brien Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/04/2001

While Downriver contains the English urban pastoral and hymns to the Northern deities for which Sean O'Brien is justly celebrated, the poet has always been more a singer than even his many admirers have sometimes conceded: here, that lyric note is sounded more openly than ever before. With Downriver, his fifth collection, O'Brien has produced his most various and mature work yet. This is a poetry of both delicacy and gravity, assuagement as well as agitation, rivers that start in hell but later fall as rain - and will only strengthen his reputation as one of the most gifted English poets at work today.

Mountain Partisans Guerrilla Warfare in the Southern Appalachians, 1861-1865

Mountain Partisans Guerrilla Warfare in the Southern Appalachians, 1861-1865

Author: Sean O'brien Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/09/1999

This is the story of a civil war within the Civil War. Many mountain whites in Southern Appalachia opposed the Confederacy, especially when the South's conscription and impressment policies began to cause severe hardships. Deserters from the Rebel army hid in the mountains and formed guerrilla bands that terrorized unprotected Confederate homesteads. Violence escalated as Rebel guerrillas fought back. The conflict soon took on some of the ugliest aspects of class warfare between poorer mountain whites, who were usually Unionists, and the more well-to-do mountain property owners, who supported the Rebels. Mountain Partisans penetrates the shadowy world of Union and Confederate guerrillas, describes their leaders and bloody activities, and explains their effect on the Civil War and the culture of Appalachia. Although it did not alter the outcome of the war, guerrilla conflict affected the way the war was fought. The Union army's experience with guerrilla warfare in the mountains influenced the North's adoption of hard war as a strategy used against the South in the last two years of the war and helped shape the army's attitude toward Southern civilians. Partisan warfare in Southern Appalachia left a legacy of self-imposed isolation and distrust of outsiders. Wartime hatreds contributed to a climate of feuds and extralegal vigilantism. The mountain economy never recovered from the war's devastating effects, laying the groundwork for the region's exploitation and impoverishment by outside corporations in the early 20th century.

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