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November by Sean O'brien
  

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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.

Sean O’Brien is the only poet to have won both the Forward and T. S. Eliot Prizes, and his new collection November does not disappoint. His poems have a taste for the lyrical, yet full with a diversity of skill and technique. Many of the poems are heart-felt, and written with the voice of one who has suffered loss; indeed there runs an elegiac element throughout the collection. Love plays an important part and his range of voices capture its essence superbly. Written within an air of urbanity, O’Brien’s politics manifest themselves from time to time, with memories of ‘dead men labouring waist-deep in ice/ To win the coal that never reached the light’ (On The Toon). Indeed, this idea of history and occurrences outside of history takes an imaginative poet to pull it off as richly as O’Brien does. He certainly has not held back in this collection, and it undoubtedly pays off.

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

Synopsis

November by Sean O'brien

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.

About the Author

Sean O'brien
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.

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Book Info

Publication date

18th March 2011

Author

Sean O'brien

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Publisher

Picador an imprint of Pan Macmillan

Format

Paperback
96 pages

Categories

Poetry
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ISBN

9780330535007

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