books of the month
Search our site
Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber Read the opening extract of the brand new Kathleen Barber book before its publication on 27/12/2017

Night by David Harsent

Lovereading view...

Shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize for Poetry 2011.

Shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award 2011.

Reviewed and selected by our poetry expert, Liam Parkin.

After the critically acclaimed Legion, Harsent’s new collection is one of focused visual memory and concentrated characters. There is a natural awareness of the power of images, and each poem creates its own atmosphere of pain, solemnity and non-knowing. Every single word is thought out, and Harsent’s language never fails to disappoint the poems. There are works of poetic genius within this collection: Scene one: A Beach, Broken Glass and the final poem, Elsewhere which is reminiscent of a morality play, but hangs on the sensual modernity of a city at night. The ‘images flow in and flood’ (Night), and often give an overwhelming ambiguity to encounters of loss and solitude. His use of form and rhythm complete Night, and the diversity of themes contained within night and rain are astounding. A remarkable collection indeed.

Click here to visit the Poetry Book Society page for Reading Groups and to download extracts from the T S Eliot Prize shortlist.


Night by David Harsent

Shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize for Poetry 2011.

Among the poems that open Night, David Harsent's follow-up to his Forward Prize-winning collection Legion , is a startling sequence about a garden - but a garden unlike any other. It sets the tone for a book in which the sureties of daylight become uncertain: dark, unsettling narratives about what wakes in us when we escape our day-lit selves to visit a place where the dream-like and the nightmarish are never far apart. The book culminates in the seductive and brilliantly-sustained 'Elsewhere', a noirish, labyrinthine quest-poem in which the protagonist is drawn ever onward through a series of encounters and reflections like an after-hours Orpheus, hard-bitten and harried by memory.


Praise for David Harsent:

‘Truly significant poets write like no one else, and David Harsent is both sui generis and unsurpassed. Taking over where his Forward Prize-winning book Legion left off, Night conducts an examination of the human psyche that is unique in both the unflinchingness of its gaze, and the narrative metaphors it uses to explore dream-life, terror and hidden impulse ... At once disciplined and wild at heart, as linguistically rich as it is visceral, Night is Harsent's finest book to date.’ Fiona Sampson, Independent

‘David Harsent has become a poet of immense power, nuance and resource, enriching his textures with "high" culture and with folk and ballad features, pursuing uncompromising insights and rigorous narratives ... Only with Ted Hughes gone could our principal anthropologist come into his own: Harsent is our master of the human red in tooth and claw.’ Michael Hulse, Poetry Review

‘[On Legion] An exceptional collection ... that looks without prurience at the countless horrors of war we choose to forget ... technically one of the most accomplished poetry books of recent years.’ Tim Dee, chairman of Forward Prize judges

‘[On Legion] David Harsent's carefully harrowing collection of poems, Legion, is both a disturbing distillation of and profound meditation on the vicious wars we have witnessed recently. Poems that move and make you think.’ William Boyd, Guardian, Books of the Year

About the Author

David Harsent

David Harsent was born in Devonshire. He has published nine collections of poetry. Legion (2005) won the Forward Prize for Best Collection, and his Selected Poems 1969-2005 appeared in 2007.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading similar books...
Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

20th January 2011


David Harsent

More books by David Harsent
Author 'Like for Like'

Author's Website


Faber & Faber


112 pages


eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Poetry by individual poets



Because of Lovereading I have broadened my reading horizons with some really great books that I probably would never have chosen myself.

Susan Walsh

I love 'try before you buy' extracts. I love the wide range of authors & genres. I love the author info. I love books!

Judi Davies

Why I love @lovereadinguk? It's in the name - as dedicated lovers of reading, they are perfect matchmakers for helping me find my next read!

Catherine Jenkins

It is a website dedicated to those who adore reading It really is a one stop shop for book lovers. Love it!

Edel Waugh

Lovereading is like booking a holiday, you don't know what it will be like and it is a whole new experience.

Sue Burton

You'll always find what you never knew you were looking for and you're always spoilt for choice.

Helen Jones

Love books. Love reading. Love reading books. And, here's the trick. Here's a website which caters for people like me.

Ian Harvey-brown

Lovereading has all the new books and also suggestions for 'similar' authors whilst waiting for your favourites new books.

Carol Peace