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Opal Sunset: Selected Poems, 1958-2008

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Opal Sunset: Selected Poems, 1958-2008 Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Opal Sunsetmarks the exuberant introduction of Clive James"s poetry to an American audience.

Praised after the publication of Cultural Amnesiaas one of the finest prose stylists of his generation, Clive James is now, with the publication of this collection, being granted recognition as the poet he has always been.

For much of his long career it was hard to realize that James"s gift for poetry underlay his achievements in other fields. First as a television critic on Fleet Street, and later as a television personality in his own right, he achieved such fame for writing the way he spoke that his poetry was regarded as an idiosyncratic sideline, as if no celebrity could write worthy verse. A conundrum presented itself: how could a serious poet also be a television star? But for James, a duty to the discipline of verse was always fundamental, and his accumulated poetic output became impossible to ignore.

As early as the 1970s, James"s long, mock epic 'Peregrine Prykke"s Pilgrimage through the London Literary World' received almost unprecedented attention in his adopted England, while later, his satirical short poem 'The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered' became not only a standard verse quoted at fancy dinner parties but entered the culture as lines to be memorized by unpublished writers everywhere. James was suddenly in the odd position of having written famous poems well before he became a famous poet. Finally, the publication of a volume of his collected verse, The Book of My Enemy, earned him in 2003 the reputation as a serious poet that he has long deserved.

Less inhibited by fixed categories, a new generation of critics has confirmed what James"s public has instinctively known, that he brings his poems to life with all the resources to be found in his prose: wit, imagination, social observation, and a dazzling play of language. In addition, his poems have an unmistakably characteristic rhythm that makes it compulsory to read them aloud. Switching between strict stanzas and free forms as the occasion suits, James brings a compulsively readable coherence to either mode; and always, over and above the binding force of his metrical assurance, there is a lyricism that brings even the plainest statement to extra life, and which often enters deeply into realms of human emotion. His later poems about the tragedy that struck his mother and father, for example, show an intensity of regret that mark his maturity as a poet and bring out his unashamed nostalgia for his homeland, Australia.

Opal Sunsetis a treasure chamber of epigrammatic jewels to which the reader will return again and again.

Synopsis:

Inspired, through his vast reading, by the poetic voices of the past, yet always speaking in a voice unmistakably his own, Clive James ineffably combines humor and great tragedy (but never solemnity) to create poems that are at once traditional yet engagingly fresh.

Synopsis:

'A generous helping of [James"s] very best, guaranteed to lift the spirit and raise the eyebrow."Billy Collins

Synopsis:

Inspired, through his vast reading, by the poetic voices of the past, yet always speaking in a voice unmistakably his own, Clive James ineffably combines humor and great tragedy (but never solemnity) to create poems that are at once traditional yet engagingly fresh. With this coruscating work, James, swimming through cultural debris both high and low, dispenses with his reputation as a perennial court jester, establishing himself as a poet of enduring power and resonance.

from "Angels Over Elsinore"

How many angels knew who Hamlet was

When they were summoned by Horatio?

They probably showed up only because

The roster said it was their turn to go.

Another day, another Dane. Too bad,

But while they sang their well-rehearsed lament

They noticed his good looks. Too soon, too sad,

This welcome home for what seemed heaven sent.

Synopsis:

With this coruscating work, James, swimming through cultural debris both high and low, dispenses with his reputation as a perennial court jester, establishing himself as a poet of enduring power and resonance.

from "Angels Over Elsinore"

How many angels knew who Hamlet was

When they were summoned by Horatio?

They probably showed up only because

The roster said it was their turn to go.

Another day, another Dane. Too bad,

But while they sang their well-rehearsed lament

They noticed his good looks. Too soon, too sad,

This welcome home for what seemed heaven sent.

About the Author

Clive James, author of the best-selling Cultural Amnesia and of Opal Sunset, writes for the New York Times Book Review and The New Yorker. He lives in London.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780393067071
Author:
James, Clive
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company
Subject:
English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Subject:
General Poetry
Subject:
Anthologies-United Kingdom Poetry
Copyright:
Publication Date:
September 2008
Binding:
Hardcover
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
208
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » United Kingdom » Poetry
Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » A to Z

Opal Sunset: Selected Poems, 1958-2008 New Hardcover
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Product details 208 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393067071 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Inspired, through his vast reading, by the poetic voices of the past, yet always speaking in a voice unmistakably his own, Clive James ineffably combines humor and great tragedy (but never solemnity) to create poems that are at once traditional yet engagingly fresh.
"Synopsis" by , 'A generous helping of [James"s] very best, guaranteed to lift the spirit and raise the eyebrow."Billy Collins
"Synopsis" by , Inspired, through his vast reading, by the poetic voices of the past, yet always speaking in a voice unmistakably his own, Clive James ineffably combines humor and great tragedy (but never solemnity) to create poems that are at once traditional yet engagingly fresh. With this coruscating work, James, swimming through cultural debris both high and low, dispenses with his reputation as a perennial court jester, establishing himself as a poet of enduring power and resonance.

from "Angels Over Elsinore"

How many angels knew who Hamlet was

When they were summoned by Horatio?

They probably showed up only because

The roster said it was their turn to go.

Another day, another Dane. Too bad,

But while they sang their well-rehearsed lament

They noticed his good looks. Too soon, too sad,

This welcome home for what seemed heaven sent.

"Synopsis" by , With this coruscating work, James, swimming through cultural debris both high and low, dispenses with his reputation as a perennial court jester, establishing himself as a poet of enduring power and resonance.

from "Angels Over Elsinore"

How many angels knew who Hamlet was

When they were summoned by Horatio?

They probably showed up only because

The roster said it was their turn to go.

Another day, another Dane. Too bad,

But while they sang their well-rehearsed lament

They noticed his good looks. Too soon, too sad,

This welcome home for what seemed heaven sent.

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