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Sir Andrew Motion - Author

About the Author

Andrew Motion is the former Poet Laureate, co-founded the Poetry Archive and was knighted for his services to literature in 2009. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and lives in London.

Featured books by Sir Andrew Motion

The New World

The New World

Author: Sir Andrew Motion Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/10/2015

The adventure of the New World lies in wait...

ebook of the month

Other books by Sir Andrew Motion

Salt Water

Salt Water

Author: Sir Andrew Motion Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 21/11/2019

Salt Water is Andrew Motion's most ambitious collection, yet also his most accessible. The first part refines the narrative and lyric skills for which he is well-known, combining intense personal concerns with themes which are more expansive and social. Family and loved ones appear in the company of historical and legendary figures; private dramas raise large general issues. But there is concentration as well as diversity. From the Orford Merman of the title poem, to an elegy written for a friend who died on the Marchioness, to the vivid prose meditation of the second part, written when Andrew Motion retraced the voyage that John Keats made by sea from London to Naples in the autumn of 1820, the book insistently and brilliantly elaborates images of water. It is the element which facilitates a rich interweaving of past and present, of re-enacted experience and the poignant suspension of the lived-in moment.

Love in a Life

Love in a Life

Author: Sir Andrew Motion Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 19/09/2019

Love in a Life, Andrew Motion's sixth volume of poetry, marks a conspicuous development in the work of the founder of the modern Narrative School. Directness and a new colloquialism are wedded to Motion's distinctive obliquities in a volume where the idea of marriage governs the architecture of each poem and the book as a whole. The stories of two marriages gradually emerge, like chapters in a narrative, and are themselves bound to more public material, so that each lends profound resonances to the other.

Public Property

Public Property

Author: Sir Andrew Motion Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 18/07/2019

Public Property was Andrew Motion's first collection of poetry after being appointed Poet Laureate. In it, he negotiates the very space of poetry, moving between private and public realms, pondering each from the other's borders. In the opening series of idylls he conjures the expeditionary narratives of a rural childhood, in scenes as precisely remembered as they are irretrievable. Elsewhere he reconsiders moments from the Victorian past from reticent and surprising angles, and elsewhere again he tackles distinctly contemporary themes and situations. The final section of the book contains a number of elegies and love poems, written in a variety of lyric forms, which provoke concerns that are among the most critical in poetry: What is public art? To whom do our most private sentiments belong?

Essex Clay

Essex Clay

Author: Sir Andrew Motion Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/05/2019

Andrew Motion's prose memoir In the Blood (2006) was widely acclaimed, praised as an act of magical retrieval and a hymn to familial love. Now, over a decade later and after moving to live and work in the United States, Motion looks back once more to recreate a stunning biographical sequel - but this time in verse. Essex Clay rekindles, expands and gives a tragic resonance to subjects that have haunted the poet throughout his writing life. In the first part, he tells the story of his mother's riding accident, long unconsciousness and slow death; in the second, he remembers the end of his father's life; and in the third, he describes an encounter that deepens the poem's tangled themes of loss and memory and retrieval. Although the prevailing mood of the poem has a sweeping Tennysonian melancholy, its wealth of physical details and its narrative momentum make it as compelling as a fast-paced novel: a settling of accounts which admits that final resolutions are impossible.

The Lamberts

The Lamberts

Author: Sir Andrew Motion Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/11/2018

'Families are societies in miniature.' The Lamberts: George, Constant and Kit won a Somerset Maugham Award in 1987. A lesson in the fragility of fame, it tells the tragic story of three generations: George, one of Australia's leading painters; his talented composer-conductor son Constant; and grandson Kit, who managed the pop group The Who. 'Motion's project is not just to tell the story of passing generations, which he does very readably and well, but necessarily also to describe and evaluate aspects of English culture - revivalist painting, classical music in the Twenties and Thirties, the foundation of a native ballet, pop music in the Sixties - which he does with considerable confidence and resource.' London Review of Books 'The story of the three Lamberts is as cruel and horrifying as any Greek tragedy... Its portrayal of the way in which the Lamberts instinctively yet unintentionally assisted in the destruction of their own offspring makes for truly compulsive reading.' Harpers and Queen 'An exemplary piece of research' (Sunday Times). 'A biographical triumph.' Observer

Keats

Keats

Author: Sir Andrew Motion Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 18/10/2018

First published in 1997, Keats was the first major biography of this tragic hero of Romanticism for some thirty years, and it differs from its predecessors in important respects. The outline of the story is well known - has become, in fact, the stuff of legend: the archetypal life of the tortured genius, critically spurned and dying young. What Andrew Motion brings to bear on the subject is a deep understanding of how Keats fitted into the intellectual and political life of his time. Important friendships with such anti-establishment figures as William Hazlitt and Leigh Hunt are given their full due, and the closeness of his own spirit, as expressed in his poems, to the ferment all around is made clear. Many significant facts about Keats's schooldays and medical training, in particular, enrich the picture. Keats emerges as a more political figure than he is usually portrayed, but his personal sufferings, too, come into closer focus. Most importantly, Andrew Motion - himself a distinguished poet and former poet laureate - demonstrates how the poems continue to exert their power. 'A definitive life of a great poet, and one of the finest biographies of the decade.' New Statesman

Philip Larkin: A Writer's Life

Philip Larkin: A Writer's Life

Author: Sir Andrew Motion Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/09/2018

Philip Larkin: A Writer's Life won the Whitbread Award for Biography in 1993 and was championed as 'an exemplary biography of its kind' (The Times). With a new introduction written by the author, this edition offers an engrossing portrait of one of the twentieth century's most popular, and most private, poets. 'There will be other lives of Larkin, but Motion's, like Forster's of Dickens, will always have a special place.' John Carey, Sunday Times 'Larkin lived a quietly noble and exemplary version of the writer's life; Motion - affectionate but undeceived about the man's frailties, a diligent researcher and a deft reader of poetry - has written an equally exemplary 'Life' of him.' Peter Conrad, Observer 'Honest but not prurient, critical but also compassionate, Motion's book could not be bettered.' Alan Bennett, London Review of Books

Essex Clay

Essex Clay

Author: Sir Andrew Motion Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/06/2018

Andrew Motion's prose memoir In the Blood (2006) was widely acclaimed, praised as an act of magical retrieval and a hymn to familial love. Now, twelve years later and three years after moving to live and work in the United States, Motion looks back once more to recreate a stunning biographical sequel - but this time in verse. Essex Clay rekindles, expands and gives a tragic resonance to subjects that have haunted the poet throughout his writing life. In the first part, he tells the story of his mother's riding accident, long unconsciousness and slow death; in the second, he remembers the end of his father's life; and in the third, he describes an encounter that deepens the poem's tangled themes of loss and memory and retrieval. Although the prevailing mood of the poem has a sweeping Tennysonian melancholy, its wealth of physical details and its narrative momentum make it as compelling as a fast-paced novel: a settling of accounts which admits that final resolutions are impossible.

Peace Talks

Peace Talks

Author: Sir Andrew Motion Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/10/2016

The second half of Andrew Motion's new collection returns to the sequence begun in Laurels and Donkeys, completing a body of work recognised by the Wilfred Owen Poetry Award in 2014. These meditations on combat and the people caught up in it look back to conflicts of the past: to the 'war to end all wars'; to Rupert Brooke on his final journey; to Wilfred Owen at Craiglockhart War Hospital; to Archduke Franz Ferdinand on the day of his fatal shooting. But Motion also depicts the ravages of modern warfare through reported speech, redacted documents, and vivid evocations of place, his plain understatement bringing the magnitude of war home to our own shores. These poems are moving and measured, delicate and clear-eyed, and bear witness to the futility of war and the suffering of those left behind. Elsewhere we find biographies in miniature, dreams and visions, family histories, which in their range of forms and voices consider questions of identity, and character. These are poems of remembrance in which Motion's war poems, all in their own way elegies, find a natural partner. Peace Talks is a wise and compassionate work.

Ten War Poems

Ten War Poems

Author: Sir Andrew Motion Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/07/2016

Peace Talks

Peace Talks

Author: Sir Andrew Motion Format: Hardback Release Date: 18/11/2015

The second half of Andrew Motion's new collection returns to the sequence begun in Laurels and Donkeys, completing a body of work recognised by the Wilfred Owen Poetry Award in 2014. These meditations on combat and the people caught up in it look back to conflicts of the past: to the 'war to end all wars'; to Rupert Brooke on his final journey; to Wilfred Owen at Craiglockhart War Hospital; to Archduke Franz Ferdinand on the day of his fatal shooting. But Motion also depicts the ravages of modern warfare through reported speech, redacted documents, and vivid evocations of place, his plain understatement bringing the magnitude of war home to our own shores. These poems are moving and measured, delicate and clear-eyed, and bear witness to the futility of war and the suffering of those left behind. Elsewhere we find biographies in miniature, dreams and visions, family histories, which in their range of forms and voices consider questions of identity, and character. These are poems of remembrance in which Motion's war poems, all in their own way elegies, find a natural partner. Peace Talks is a wise and compassionate work.

Good-bye to All That

Good-bye to All That

Author: Sir Andrew Motion, Robert Graves Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/05/2014

There was no patriotism in the trenches. It was too remote a sentiment, and rejected as fit only for civilians. A new arrival who talked patriotism would soon be told to cut it out. As Blighty, Great Britain was a quiet, easy place to get back to out of the present foreign misery, but as a nation it was nothing. This is the original version of Robert Graves's intense memoir of the First World War, restoring this raw, emotionally truthful, darkly comic work to the way it was first written, by a young man still reeling from the trenches. 'We see the dark heart of the book even more clearly, and hear it beating even more loudly, in this original edition than we do in the comparatively careful and considered terms of the later one' Andrew Motion 'One of the most candid self-portraits, warts and all, ever painted' TLS

The Customs House

The Customs House

Author: Sir Andrew Motion Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/09/2013

Andrew Motion's new book opens with a sequence of war poems (first published as the pamphlet Laurels and Donkeys, on Armstice Day 2010), drawing on soldiers' experiences of war from 1914 until today - beginning with a story about Siegfried Sassoon and moving via World War Two and Korea to the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of the poems are in the voices of combatants, others are based on memories of the poet's father, who landed at D-day and fought in France and Germany. The poems combine understatement with a clear-eyed and unswerving candour. The Customs House has other rooms: a group of topographies, mapping moments in a marriage against the contingencies of place and family history; and several 'found poems', in which the poet collaborates with his source, mixing what is there already with what is about to be there: whether a remarkable sonnet sequence on the last days of the Baroque genius Francesco Borromini, or in other poems a richly imagined extrapolation from the silent premises of a painting.

Silver

Silver

Author: Sir Andrew Motion Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/04/2013

Think of the fortune waiting for you... July, 1802. Young Jim Hawkins and Long John Silver's daughter, Natty, set off in the footsteps of their fathers. The lure of hidden treasure and the thrill of the ocean odyssey soon gives way to terror as the Nightingale reaches its destination. Treasure Island is not uninhabited as it once was...

The Customs House

The Customs House

Author: Sir Andrew Motion Format: Hardback Release Date: 18/10/2012

Andrew Motion's new book opens with a sequence of war poems (first published as the pamphlet Laurels and Donkeys, on Armistice Day 2010), drawing on soldiers' experiences of war from 1914 until today - beginning with a story about Siegfried Sassoon and moving via World War Two and Korea to the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of the poems are in the voices of combatants, others are based on memories of the poet's father, who landed at D-day and fought in France and Germany. The poems combine understatement with a clear-eyed and unswerving candour. The Customs House has other rooms: a group of topographies, mapping moments in a marriage against the contingencies of place and family history; and several 'found poems', in which the poet collaborates with his source, mixing what is there already with what is about to be there: whether a remarkable sonnet sequence on the last days of the Baroque genius Francesco Borromini, or in other poems a richly imagined extrapolation from the silent premises of a painting.

The Lamberts

The Lamberts

Author: Sir Andrew Motion Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 19/07/2012

Andrew Motion's first work of biography won a Somerset Maugham Award in 1987. 'A biographical triumph.' Observer 'The story of the three Lamberts is as cruel and horrifying as any Greek tragedy... Its portrayal of the way in which the Lamberts instinctively yet unintentionally assisted in the destruction of their own offspring makes for truly compulsive reading.' Harpers and Queen 'Motion's project is not just to tell the story of passing generations, which he does very readably and well, but necessarily also to describe and evaluate aspects of English culture - revivalist painting, classical music in the Twenties and Thirties, the foundation of a native ballet, pop music in the Sixties - which he does with considerable confidence and resource.' London Review of Books

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