By Simon Armitage
(Knopf, Hardcover, 9780307594839, 96pp.)
Publication Date: August 2, 2011
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A thrilling new collection from the hugely acclaimed British poet Simon Armitage. With its vivid array of dramatic monologues, allegories, and tall tales, this absurdist, unreal exploration of modern society brings us a chorus of unique and unforgettable voices.
All are welcome at this twilit, visionary carnival: the man whose wife drapes a border-curtain across the middle of the marital home; the black bear with a dark secret; the woman who oversees giant snowballs in the freezer. “My girlfriend won me in a sealed auction but wouldn’t / tell me how much she bid,” begins one speaker; “I hadn’t meant to go grave robbing with Richard Dawkins / but he can be very persuasive,” another tells us. The storyteller behind this human tapestry has about him a sly undercover idealism: he shares with many of his characters a stargazing capacity for belief, or for being, at the very least, entirely “genuine in his disbelief.” In these startling poems, with their unique cartoon-strip energy and air of misrule, Armitage creates world after world, peculiar and always particular, where the only certainty is the unexpected.
Simon Armitage was born in and lives in West Yorkshire, England. His twelve previous titles include Killing Time, Selected Poems, The Universal Home Doctor, Tyrannosaurus Rex Versus the Corduroy Kid, and his acclaimed translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. In 1993, he was named the London Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year; he is the recipient of a Forward Prize and in 2010 won the Keats-Shelley Prize for Poetry. He works as a freelance writer, broadcaster, and playwright; writes extensively for radio, television, and film; has taught at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop; and is professor of poetry at the University of Sheffield.