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All One Breath by John Burnside
  

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Shortlisted for the T S Eliot Poetry Prize 2014.

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.

If you like John Burnside you might also like to read books by Kathleen Winter, Julian Barnes and Graham Swift.

Synopsis

All One Breath by John Burnside

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'.

Reviews

'One of the most charged collections I have read in a long time. [Burnside's] writing is earthed and ethereal - there is a rare equilibrium to it... Breathtaking.' -- Kate Kellaway Observer

'John Burnside is a genius... He is constantly live to alternative possibilities and versions of himself, as close yet unreachable as his own shadow. His responses to the world are so raw, it's as if he's missing a skin - or perhaps the rest of us have grown hides to make life manageable.' -- Maggie Fergusson Intelligent Life

'It is a rare thing for a poet to step out of the pack and move beyond mere critical appreciation into something like the mainstream; but a new John Burnside will now fly out of the shops with unbard-like haste.' Belfast Telegraph

'Rare and memorable beauty... For all the melancholy of this collection, Burnside is not a nihilist; the glory of these poems shows us that.' -- Sarah Crown Guardian

'Too often poets are portrayed as meek and mild, emollients in an age scarred by abrasiveness. John Burnside, it is a pleasure to report, is not of that genus... There is a terrible beauty to Burnside's anger.' -- Alan Taylor Herald

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.

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Book Info

Publication date

6th February 2014

Author

John Burnside

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Author's Website

johnburnside.com/

Publisher

Jonathan Cape Ltd an imprint of Vintage Publishing

Format

Paperback
96 pages

Categories

Poetry
eBook Favourites

Poetry by individual poets

ISBN

9780224097406

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