John Burnside - Author

About the Author

John Burnside has published eleven previous collections of poetry, including among them The Asylum Dance, which won the 2000 Whitbread Poetry Award, and six works of fiction - most recently the novel, A Summer of Drowning, which came out this year. He has also written two books of memoirs, A Lie About My Father and Waking Up In Toytown.

Featured books by John Burnside

I Put a Spell on You

I Put a Spell on You

Author: John Burnside Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/05/2014

In this exquisite, haunting book, John Burnside describes his coming of age from the industrial misery of Cowdenbeath and Corby to the new world of Cambridge. This is a memoir of romance - of lost love and the love of being lost - darkened by threat, illuminated by glamour. The old Scots word 'glamour' means magical charm, and the first time he was played I Put a Spell on You, John Burnside thought he had never heard a more beautiful song - it was an enchantment, a fascination that would turn to obsession. Implicit in the song were all the ambiguities that intrigued him - love, possession and danger - and this book is an exploration of the darker side of glamour and attraction. Beginning with memories of a brutal murder, the book follows the author through a series of uncanny encounters with 'lost girls', with brilliant digressions on murder ballads, voodoo, acid and insomnia, and a cast that includes Kafka and Narcissus, Diane Arbus and Mel Lyman, The Four Tops and Screamin' Jay Hawkins, and time spent lost in the Arctic Circle, black-and-white films and a mental institution. Ending with the tender summoning of the ghost of his dying mother as she sings along to the radio in her empty kitchen, I Put a Spell on You is a book about memory, about the other side of love: a book of secrets and wonders.

All One Breath

All One Breath

Author: John Burnside Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/02/2014

This is shortlisted for the 2014 T.S. Eliot Prize and the Forward Prize for Best Collection. In this absorbing, brilliant new collection - his first since Black Cat Bone - John Burnside examines our shared experience of this mortal world: how we are 'all one breath' and - with that breath - how we must strive towards the harmony of choir. Recognising that our attitudes to other creatures - human and non-human - cause too much damage and hurt, that 'we've been going at this for years: a steady delete of anything that tells us what we are', these poems celebrate the fleeting, charged moments where, through measured and gracious encounters with other lives, we find our true selves, and bring some brief, insubstantial goodness and beauty into being. He presents the world in a series of still lifes, in tableaux vivants and tableaux morts, in laboratory tests, anatomy lessons, in a Spiegelkabinett where the reflections in the mirrors, distorted as they seem, reveal buried truths. All the images are in some sense self-portraits: all are, in some way, elegies. One of the finest and most celebrated lyric poets at work today, John Burnside is a master of the moment - when the frames of our film seem to slow and stop and a life slips through the gap in between - and each poem here is a perfect, uncanny hymn to humanity, set down 'to tell the lives of others'.

Black Cat Bone

Black Cat Bone

Author: John Burnside Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/08/2011

Winner of the T S Eliot Prize for Poetry 2011. John Burnside's remarkable new book is full of strange, unnerving poems that hang in the memory like a myth or a song. These are poems of thwarted love and disappointment, of raw desire, of the stalking beast, 'eye-teeth/and muzzle/coated with blood'; poems that recognise 'we have too much to gain from the gods, and this is why/they fail to love us'; and, poems that tell of an obsessive lover coming to grief in a sequence that echoes the old murder ballads, or of a hunter losing himself in the woods while pursuing an unknown and possibly unknowable quarry. Drawing on sources as various as the paintings of Pieter Brueghel and the lyrics of Delta blues, Black Cat Bone examines varieties of love, faith, hope and illusion, to suggest an unusual possibility: that when the search for what we expected to find - in the forest or in our own hearts - ends in failure, we can now begin the hard and disciplined quest for what is actually there. Full of risk and wonder, Black Cat Bone shows the range of Burnside's abilities, but also strikes out for new territories. He remains consistently, though, one of our finest living lyric poets and each of these astonishing poems is as clear and memorable as 'a silver bracelet/falling for days/through an inch and a half/of ice'.

Other books by John Burnside

An Essay on Mourning

An Essay on Mourning

Author: John Burnside Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/09/2018

This pocket-sized paperback is one of the twenty-four titles published for 2017 Hong Kong International Poetry Nights. The theme of IPHHK2017 is Ancient Enmity . IPNHK is one of the most influential international poetry events in Asia. From 22-26 November 2017, over 20 invited poets from various countries will be in Hong Kong to read their works based on the theme Ancient Enmity. Included in the anthology and box set, these unique works are presented with Chinese and English translations in bilingual or trilingual formats.

On Henry Miller Or, How to Be an Anarchist

On Henry Miller Or, How to Be an Anarchist

Author: John Burnside Format: Hardback Release Date: 13/02/2018

An engaging invitation to rediscover Henry Miller--and to learn how his anarchist sensibility can help us escape the air-conditioned nightmare of the modern world The American writer Henry Miller's critical reputation--if not his popular readership--has been in eclipse at least since Kate Millett's blistering critique in Sexual Politics, her landmark 1970 study of misogyny in literature and art. Even a Miller fan like the acclaimed Scottish writer John Burnside finds Miller's sex books --including The Rosy Crucifixion, Tropic of Cancer, and Tropic of Capricorn-- boring and embarrassing. But Burnside says that Miller's notorious image as a pornographer and woman hater has hidden his vital, true importance--his anarchist sensibility and the way it shows us how, by fleeing from conformity of all kinds, we may be able to save ourselves from the air-conditioned nightmare of the modern world. Miller wrote that there is no salvation in becoming adapted to a world which is crazy, and in this short, engaging, and personal book, Burnside shows how Miller teaches us to become less adapted to the world, to resist a life sentence to the prison of social, intellectual, emotional, and material conditioning. Exploring the full range of Miller's work, and giving special attention to The Air-Conditioned Nightmare and The Colossus of Maroussi, Burnside shows how, with humor and wisdom, Miller illuminates the misunderstood tradition of anarchist thought. Along the way, Burnside reflects on Rimbaud's enormous influence on Miller, as well as on how Rimbaud and Miller have influenced his own writing. An unconventional and appealing account of an unjustly neglected writer, On Henry Miller restores to us a figure whose searing criticism of the modern world has never been more relevant.

Ashland & Vine

Ashland & Vine

Author: John Burnside Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/02/2018

Kate, a grieving, semi-alcoholic film student, invites an elderly woman to take part in an oral-history documentary. Jean declines, but makes her a bizarre counter-offer: if Kate can stay sober for four days, she will tell her a story. If she can stay sober beyond that, there will be another, and then another, amounting to the entire history of one family's life. Gradually, Jean offers a heart-breaking account, not only of her own history - a lost lover, a family scarred by war - but of the American century itself; as a deep connection emerges between the women which will transform both of their lives.

Wo die Exekutive ihre Finger einziehtWhere executives would never want to tamper

Wo die Exekutive ihre Finger einziehtWhere executives would never want to tamper

Author: John Burnside Format: eBook Release Date: 26/06/2017

Seit dem Herbst 2016 gibt es in Deutschland ein Haus fur Poesie. Diesen Namen hat sich die Literaturwerkstatt Berlin gegeben, die sich seit langem mit dem poesiefestival berlin mit dem Gedichteportal lyrikonline.org und zahlreichen Lyriklesungen fur diese Gattung engagiert. Die Umbenennung wurde im Berliner Rathaus gefeiert, und Oswald Egger hielt die erste vielbeachtete Berliner Rede zur Poesie die im Wallstein Verlag eine neue Reihe begrundet. Am 18. Juni 2017 wird die Berliner Rede zur Poesie erstmals im Rahmen des poesiefestivals berlin gehalten werden, von dem international mit den hchsten literarischen Auszeichnungen gewrdigten schottischen Autor John Burnside, einem Erzhler von Weltrang und einem eminenten Lyriker (Tobias Dring, FAZ). Burnside zeigt in seinem Vortrag, ausgehend von einem Gedicht W. H. Audens, wie die Poesie berlebt und uns im gleichen Atemzug an unsere animalischen und imaginativen Krfte erinnert, an die Kreatrlichkeit, die wir mit allen anderen lebenden Wesen teilen, sowie an eine kologische Vision, die uns ermglicht, neue Formen des Widerstands gegen die Macht der Manager zu entdecken und erfinden.

Havergey

Havergey

Author: John Burnside Format: Hardback Release Date: 29/03/2017

Still Life with Feeding Snake

Still Life with Feeding Snake

Author: John Burnside Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/02/2017

From our earliest childhood experiences, we learn to see the world as contested space: a battleground between received ideas, entrenched conventions and myriad Authorised Versions on the one hand, and new discoveries, terrible dangers, and everyday miracles on the other. As we grow, that world expands further, to include new species, lost continents, the realm of the dead and the lives of others: cosmonauts swim in distant space, unseen creatures pass through a garden at dusk; we are surrounded by delectable mysteries. The question of this contested, liminal world sits at the centre of Still Life with Feeding Snake, whose poems live at the edge of loss, or on the cusp of epiphany, always seeking that brief instant of grace when we see what is before us, and not just what we expected to find. In `Approaching Sixty', the poet watches as a woman unclasps her hair: `so the nape of her neck/is visible, slender and pale/for moments, before the spill/of light and russet/falls down to her waist'. This, like each poem in the book, becomes an essay in still life and a memento mori, illuminating transient experience with a profound clarity and a charged, sensual beauty.

Ashland & Vine

Ashland & Vine

Author: John Burnside Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/02/2017

It is 1999. Kate Lambert, a grieving, semi-alcoholic film student, invites an elderly woman to take part in an oral-history documentary. The woman, Jean Culver, declines, but makes her a bizarre counter-offer: if Kate can stay sober for four days, she will tell her a story. And if she can stay sober beyond that, there will be another, and then another, amounting to the entire history of one family's life. Though still shattered by the death of her father, and by the desultory abuse imposed by Laurits, her enigmatic collaborator and erstwhile lover - Kate is soon drawn into a Scheherazade-like matrix of tales, some painfully final, some still unfinished, in which Jean gradually offers a heartbreaking account, not only of one family, but of the American century itself, from World War II to Vietnam and the Weather Underground. A profound, mysterious, deeply moving novel - a meeting of love and grief, like water on arid soil - Ashland & Vine is the story of an unlikely friendship that transcends time, age and the limits of narrative to reveal the unexpected grace that comes of listening to another's history, while telling, as carefully as we can, what we know of our own.

The Dumb House

The Dumb House

Author: John Burnside Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/08/2015

As a child, Luke's mother often tells him the story of the Dumb House, an experiment on newborn babies raised in silence, designed to test the innateness of language. As Luke grows up, his interest in language and the delicate balance of life and death leads to amateur dissections of small animals - tiny hearts revealed still pumping, as life trickles away. But as an adult, following the death of his mother, Luke's obsession deepens, resulting in a haunting and bizarre experiment on Luke's own children.

I Put a Spell on You

I Put a Spell on You

Author: John Burnside Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/05/2015

In this exquisite, haunting book, John Burnside describes his coming of age from the industrial misery of Cowdenbeath and Corby to the new world of Cambridge. This is a memoir of romance - of lost love and the love of being lost - darkened by threat, illuminated by glamour. The old Scots word `glamour' means magical charm, and the first time he was played I Put a Spell on You, John Burnside thought he had never heard a more beautiful song - it was an enchantment, a fascination that would turn to obsession. Implicit in the song were all the ambiguities that intrigued him - love, possession and danger - and this book is an exploration of the darker side of glamour and attraction. Beginning with memories of a brutal murder, the book follows the author through a series of uncanny encounters with `lost girls', with brilliant digressions on murder ballads, voodoo, acid and insomnia, and a cast that includes Kafka and Narcissus, Diane Arbus and Mel Lyman, The Four Tops and Screamin' Jay Hawkins, and time spent lost in the Arctic Circle, black-and-white films and a mental institution. Ending with the tender summoning of the ghost of his dying mother as she sings along to the radio in her empty kitchen, I Put a Spell on You is a book about memory, about the other side of love: a book of secrets and wonders.

Something Like Happy

Something Like Happy

Author: John Burnside Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/04/2014

In these remarkable stories, John Burnside takes us into the lives of men and women trapped in marriage, ensnared by drink, diminished by disappointment; all kinds of women, all kinds of men - lonely, unfaithful, dying - driving empty roads at night. These are people for whom the idea of `home' has become increasingly intangible, hard to believe - and happiness, or grace, or freedom, all now seem to belong in some kind of dream, or a fable they might have read in a children's picture book. As he says in one story, `All a man has is his work and his sense of himself, all the secret life he holds inside that nobody else can know.' But in each of these normal, damaged lives, we are shown something extraordinary: a dogged belief in some kind of hope or beauty that flies in the face of all reason and is, as a result, both transfiguring and heart-rending. John Burnside is unique in contemporary British letters: he is one of our best living poets, but he is also a thrillingly talented writer of fiction. These exquisitely written pieces, each weighted so perfectly, opens up the whole wound of a life in one moment - and each of these twelve short stories carries the freight and density of a great novel.

All One Breath

All One Breath

Author: John Burnside Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/02/2014

This is shortlisted for the 2014 T.S. Eliot Prize and the Forward Prize for Best Collection. In this absorbing, brilliant new collection - his first since Black Cat Bone - John Burnside examines our shared experience of this mortal world: how we are 'all one breath' and - with that breath - how we must strive towards the harmony of choir. Recognising that our attitudes to other creatures - human and non-human - cause too much damage and hurt, that 'we've been going at this for years: a steady delete of anything that tells us what we are', these poems celebrate the fleeting, charged moments where, through measured and gracious encounters with other lives, we find our true selves, and bring some brief, insubstantial goodness and beauty into being. He presents the world in a series of still lifes, in tableaux vivants and tableaux morts, in laboratory tests, anatomy lessons, in a Spiegelkabinett where the reflections in the mirrors, distorted as they seem, reveal buried truths. All the images are in some sense self-portraits: all are, in some way, elegies. One of the finest and most celebrated lyric poets at work today, John Burnside is a master of the moment - when the frames of our film seem to slow and stop and a life slips through the gap in between - and each poem here is a perfect, uncanny hymn to humanity, set down 'to tell the lives of others'.

A Summer of Drowning

A Summer of Drowning

Author: John Burnside Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/03/2012

A young girl, Liv, lives with her mother on a remote island in the Arctic Circle. Her only friend is an old man who beguiles her with tales of trolls, mermaids, and the huldra, a wild spirit who appears as an irresistably beautiful girl, to tempt young men to danger and death. Then two boys drown within weeks of each other under mysterious circumstances, in the still, moonlit waters off the shores of Liv's home. Were the deaths accidental or were the boys lured to their doom by a malevolent spirit?

Black Cat Bone

Black Cat Bone

Author: John Burnside Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/08/2011

Winner of the T S Eliot Prize for Poetry 2011. John Burnside's remarkable new book is full of strange, unnerving poems that hang in the memory like a myth or a song. These are poems of thwarted love and disappointment, of raw desire, of the stalking beast, 'eye-teeth/and muzzle/coated with blood'; poems that recognise 'we have too much to gain from the gods, and this is why/they fail to love us'; and, poems that tell of an obsessive lover coming to grief in a sequence that echoes the old murder ballads, or of a hunter losing himself in the woods while pursuing an unknown and possibly unknowable quarry. Drawing on sources as various as the paintings of Pieter Brueghel and the lyrics of Delta blues, Black Cat Bone examines varieties of love, faith, hope and illusion, to suggest an unusual possibility: that when the search for what we expected to find - in the forest or in our own hearts - ends in failure, we can now begin the hard and disciplined quest for what is actually there. Full of risk and wonder, Black Cat Bone shows the range of Burnside's abilities, but also strikes out for new territories. He remains consistently, though, one of our finest living lyric poets and each of these astonishing poems is as clear and memorable as 'a silver bracelet/falling for days/through an inch and a half/of ice'.

Waking Up in Toytown A Memoir

Waking Up in Toytown A Memoir

Author: John Burnside Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/01/2011

In the early 80s, after a decade of drug abuse and borderline mental illness, John Burnside resolved to escape his addictive personality and find calm in a 'Surbiton of the mind'. But the suburbs are not quite as normal as he had imagined and, as he relapses into chaos, he encounters a homicidal office worker who is obsessed with Alfred Hitchcock and Petula Clark, an old lover, with whom he reprises a troubled, masochistic relationship and, finally, the seemingly flesh-and-blood embodiemnts of all his private phantoms. The sequel to his haunting, celebrated account of a troubled childhood, Waking Up in Toytown is unsettling, touching, oddly romantic and unflinchingly honest.

The Asylum Dance

The Asylum Dance

Author: John Burnside Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/09/2009

Lucid, tender, and strangely troubling, the poems in The Asylum Dance - which won the Whitbread Prize for Poetry - are hymns to the tension between the sanctuary of home and the lure of escape. This is territory that Burnside has made his own: a domestic world threaded through with myth and longing, beyond which lies a no man's land - the 'somewhere in between' - of dusk or dawn, of mists or sudden light, where the epiphanies are. Using the framework of four long poems, 'Ports', 'Settlements', 'Fields' and 'Roads', the poet balances presence with absence; we are shown the homing instinct - felt in the blood and marrow - as a pull to refuge, simplicity, and a safe haven, while at the same time hearing the siren call from the world beyond: the thrilling expectancy of fairground or dancehall, the possibilities of the open road. With a confident open line and complete command of the language, John Burnside writes with grace, agility and profound philosophical purpose, confirming his position in the front rank of contemporary poetry.

The Hunt in the Forest

The Hunt in the Forest

Author: John Burnside Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/08/2009

Taking its title from Uccello's famous painting of a band of men - on foot and on horseback - massing for the chase, John Burnside's new poems take us on a journey out of the light and into the darkness, where we may just as easily lose ourselves as find what we are looking for. In these poems of hunting and predation, Burnside explores our most deep-rooted and primeval pursuits: romantic love, memory, selfhood, grief, the recollection of the dead. Yet just as we seek, so are we sought out: at any moment we may slide into loss or be gathered in by some otherworldly light; at any moment, the angel of the annunciation may seek us out and demand some astonishing transformation. Even in the pursuit of love, or in the exercise of memory, we fall into snares and become entangled in veils; just as we are always on the point of discovery, so we are always a hair's-breadth away from being lost. Concerned with love and mourning, with what we discover and what remains hidden - with learning how to follow the trail through the forest and find the way home - above all, these poems are about the quest: knowing that whatever we bring back from the hunt, it is always hard-won and never fully our own. With this extraordinary collection of fleet and deftly beautiful poems, John Burnside confirms his place at the forefront of writing, as one of a handful of truly important British poets working today.

The Dumb House

The Dumb House

Author: John Burnside Format: Paperback Release Date: 22/06/2009

In Persian myth, it is said that Akbar the Great once built a palace which he filled with newborn children, attended only by mutes, in order to learn whether language is innate or aquired. As the year passed and the chidren grew into their silent and difficult world, this palace became known as the Gang Mahal, or Dumb House. In his first novel, John Burnside explores the possibilites inherent in a modern-day repetition of Akbar`s investigations. Following the death of his mother, the unnamed narrator creates a twisted varient of the Dumb House, finally using his own chidren as subjects in a bizarre experiment. When the children develop a musical language of their own, however, their gaoler is the one who is excluded, and he extracts an appalling revenge.

Glister

Glister

Author: John Burnside Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/05/2009

The children of Innertown exist in a state of suspended terror. Every year or so, a boy from their school disappears, vanishing into the wasteland of the old chemical plant. Nobody knows where these boys go, or whether they are alive or dead, and without evidence the authorities claim they are simply runaways. The town policeman, Morrison knows otherwise. He was involved in the cover-up of one boy's murder, and he believes all the boys have been killed. Though he is seriously compromised, he would still like to find out the killer's identity. The local children also want to know and, in their fear and frustration, they turn on Rivers, a sad fantasist and suspected paedophile living alone at the edge of the wasteland. Trapped and frightened, one of the boys, Leonard, tries to escape, taking refuge in the poisoned ruins of the old plant; there he finds another boy, who might be the missing Liam and might be a figment of his imagination. With his help, Leonard comes to understand the policeman's involvement, and exacts the necessary revenge - before following Liam into the Glister: possibly a disused chemical weapons facility, possibly a passage to the outer world. A terrifying exploration of loss and the violence that pools under the surface of the everyday, Glister is an exquisitely written, darkly imagined novel by one of our greatest contemporary writers.

Glister

Glister

Author: John Burnside Format: eBook Release Date: 10/03/2009

Fifteen-year-old Leonard describes his hometown as a contemporary hell: part industrial ruin, part Dante's Inferno. The poisoned woods and the derelict buildings are haunted by wild children, a strange, sickly fauna, and the mysterious Moth Man, an itinerant ecologist who appears to be conducting a bizarre survey into local insect populations, but might just as easily be the angel of the Lord. Every year or so, a boy from Leonard's school disappears, vanishing into the wasteland of the old chemical plant. Nobody knows where these boys go, or whether they are alive or dead. Without evidence to the contrary, the authorities claim they are simply runaways. But Morrison, the town policeman, knows otherwise. Determined to learn the truth for himself, Leonard takes refuge in the poisoned ruins of the plant, where he renews his friendship with the Moth Man and exacts a shocking revenge on the policeman before entering the mysterious Glister.

The Devil's Footprints

The Devil's Footprints

Author: John Burnside Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/03/2008

Once, on a winter's night many years ago, after a heavy snow, the devil passed through the Scottish fishing town of Coldhaven, leaving a trail of dark hoofprints across the streets and roofs of the sleeping town. Michael Gardiner has lived in Coldhaven all his life, but still feels like an outsider, a blow-in. When Moira Birnie decides that her abusive husband is the devil and then kills herself and her two young sons, a terrible chain of events begins. Michael's infatuation with Moira's teenage daughter takes him on a journey towards a defined fate, where he is forced to face his present and then, finally, his past...

A Lie About My Father

A Lie About My Father

Author: John Burnside Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/03/2007

A moving, unforgettable memoir of two lost men: a father and his child. He had his final heart attack in the Silver Band Club in Corby, somewhere between the bar and the cigarette machine. A foundling; a fantasist; a morose, threatening drinker who was quick with his hands, he hadn't seen his son for years. John Burnside's extraordinary story of this failed relationship is a beautifully written evocation of a lost and damaged world of childhood and the constants of his father's world: men defined by the drink they could take and the pain they could stand, men shaped by their guilt and machismo. A Lie About My Father is about forgiving but not forgetting, about examining the way men are made and how they fall apart, about understanding that in order to have a good son you must have a good father. Saltire Scottish Book of the Year and the Scottish Arts Council Non-Fiction Book of the Year.

The Devil's Footprints

The Devil's Footprints

Author: John Burnside Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/03/2007

Once, on a winter's night many years ago, after a heavy snow, the devil passed through the Scottish fishing town of Coldhaven, leaving a trail of dark hoofprints across the streets and roofs of the sleeping town. Michael Gardiner has lived in Coldhaven all his life, but still feels like an outsider, a blow-in. Now living in self-imposed exile out on the point, Michael feels at one with the sea-birds and the changing light of this ancient landscape - yet more distant than ever from the dark, closed community of the villagers. But that is about to change. When Moira Birnie decides that her abusive husband is the devil and then kills herself and her two young sons, a terrible chain of events begins. Michael's infatuation with the fourteen-year-old Hazel takes him on a journey towards a defined fate, where he is forced to face his present and then, finally, his past. Having confronted his own demons he must return, walking in penance and penitence, to be reborn into a world where he was always a stranger. Written with the exquisite clarity and power of a folktale, The Devil's Footprints is the story of a man trying to come to terms with a suspended life, and the fear, guilt and unbearable grief that mark it. Revealing what lies beneath the surface of the everyday world, John Burnside has written a novel of mysterious and terrifying beauty - as primal and thrilling as cloven hooves in the snow.

Gift Songs

Gift Songs

Author: John Burnside Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/03/2007

To the Shakers, a good song was a gift; indeed the test of a song's goodness was how much of a gift it was. In their call to 'labour to make the way of God your own', Shaker artists expressed an aesthetic that had much in common with the old Japanese notion, attributed to Hokusai, that to paint bamboo, one had first to become bamboo. In his tenth collection, John Burnside begins with an interrogation of the gift song, treating matters of faith and connection, the community of living creatures and the idea of a free church - where faith is placed, not in dogma or a possible credo, but in the indefinable - and moves on through explorations of time and place, towards a tentative and idiosyncratic re-ligere, the beginnings of a renewal of the connection to, and faith in, an ordered world. The book closes with a series of meditations on place, entitled 'Four Quartets', intended both as a spiritual response to the string quartets of Bartok and Britten (as Eliot's were to Beethoven's late quartets), and as an experiment in the poetic form that the finest of poets, the true miglior fabbro, chose as a medium for his own declaration of faith. The poems in this collection are true gifts: thrillingly beautiful, charged with power and mystery, each imbued with the generous skills of a master of his craft.

Selected Poems

Selected Poems

Author: John Burnside Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/03/2006

Over seventeen years and nine collections, John Burnside has built - in the words of Bernard O'Donoghue - 'a poetic corpus of the first significance', a poetry of luminous, limpid grace. His territory is the no-man's-land of threshold and margin, the charmed half-light of the liminal, a domestic world threaded through with mystery, myth and longing. In this Selected Poems we can see themes emerge and develop within the growing confidence of Burnside's sinuous lyric poise: the place of the individual in the world, the idea of dwelling, of home, within that community, and the lure of absence and escape set against the possibilities of renewal and continuity. This is consummate, immaculate work born out of a lean and agile craftsmanship, profound philosophical thought and a haunted, haunting imagination; the result is a poetry that makes intimate, resonant, exquisite music.

The Good Neighbour

The Good Neighbour

Author: John Burnside Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/02/2005

The question of how we live together sits at the heart of this, John Burnside's ninth collection of poetry. Tensions between the need for love and the desire to be alone, between the idea that 'good fences makes good neighbours' and the fact that we must live with one another in order to survive and, most of all, the shifting space between 'self' and 'other' - between solitary experience and the 'real world' - inform The Good Neighbour from start to finish. From intimate and sometimes painful explorations of married life to meditations on isolated communities and individuals such as the Mennonites, or the last man to speak a now-extinct Caucasian language, this is a book about intimacy and distance, about love and freedom, that touches upon the basic question of what it is to be individual in a world where there is no such thing as an individual destiny. Crafted with Burnside's customary artistry and confidence, the poems in The Good Neighbour are rich in intellectual nourishment and originality, full of light and grace and passionate care.

The Light Trap

The Light Trap

Author: John Burnside Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/04/2002

As the judges of the Whitbread Prize noted, 'Burnside's poems have the rare power to alter one's perception of the world and of language...a sensory delight with an epiphany on every page.' Once again, in this, his eighth collection of poetry, John Burnside is looking deeply into the ways we see our world: addressing the organic relationship between the environment and the unconscious, between ideas and the creatures, in poems whose protagonists - from the deer who pass through a suburban garden to the poet's six-month-old son - are infinitely mysterious, difficult and 'out there'. These are poems that move beyond the traditional idea of 'nature poetry', investigating the very basis of our knowledge, not only of living things, but of the play of gravity and light that makes our world and theirs possible. Resonant and luminous, this is work of intimacy and wonder from one of Britain's most important poets.

The Locust Room

The Locust Room

Author: John Burnside Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/04/2002

The finest and most disturbing novel so far from the author of The Dumb House and The Mercy Boys. Twenty-five years ago a rapist stalked the streets of Cambridge and violently attacked young women. These events form the background to this extra-ordinary novel in which a young photographer must examine his relations with women, with other men and with his family at home.

The Asylum Dance

The Asylum Dance

Author: John Burnside Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/06/2000

John Burnside's seventh poetry collection, The Asylum Dance, won the Whitbread Poetry Award and was shortlisted for both the Forward and the T.S. Eliot Prize. Lucid, tender, and strangely troubling, the poems in The Asylum Dance are hymns to the tension between the sanctuary of home and the lure of escape. This is territory that Burnside has made his own; a domestic world threaded through with myth and longing, beyond which lies a no man's land - the somewhere in between of dusk or dawn, of mists or sudden light, where the epiphanies are. Using the framework of four long poems, 'Ports', 'Settlements', 'Fields' and 'Roads', the poet balances presence with absence; we are shown the homing instinct - felt in the blood and marrow - as a pull to refuge, simplicity and a safe haven, while at the same time hearing the siren call from the world beyond the thrilling expectancy of fairground or a dancehall, the possibilities of the open road. With a confident open line and command of the language, John Burnside writes with grace, agility and profound philosophical purpose, confirming his position in the front rank of contemporary poetry.

The Hoop

The Hoop

Author: John Burnside Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/06/1988

In 'The Hoop', his first book of poems, John Burnside takes his bearings from Celtic mythology and from landscape, especially that of Gloucestershire. 'The things that contribute to how I work are botanical texts and drawings, fairy stories, Celtic and Romance literature.' The originality of his work lies in its themes - stewardship of the land, a sense that landscape by being described is valued and preserved - and in his disciplined eye and ear.

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http://johnburnside.com/

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