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Blackbird Singing: Poems and Lyrics 1965-1999by Paul Mccartney
Synopses & Reviews
A landmark event and cause for international celebration ? never before collected, the poems and lyrics of Paul McCartney.
To actually read Paul McCartney's poems, whether exuberant love ballads or poignant messages of deepest grief, is to revel in the sheer power of language and to appreciate the electrifying confluence of dream and song. His words are as pure and magical as we remember them. Here, in his first collection of poems and lyrics, McCartney emerges with a dreamlike yet thoroughly mature voice that confirms his stature as one of the most original and best-loved poets of our time.
While readers will be familiar with many of these lyrics ? like "Yesterday," "Penny Lane," and "Hey Jude," all of which are part of the twentieth century's most cherished songbook ? this volume also contains dozens of poems never seen before, including the autobiographical "In Liverpool," and the moving tribute "Ivan," an elegy for his dear friend Ivan Vaughn, which broke the dam and inspired a torrent of original poems written throughout the 1990s. McCartney's emotional range and brilliant wordplay remain remarkably consistent throughout the lyrics and poems. As Adrian Mitchell insightfully writes in his introduction, "Sometimes his poems are light as feathers. They can tickle or fly or delight the eye. Sometimes he writes four lines as heavy as a double-decker bus, or the heart itself."
Inspired by his late wife, Linda McCartney, Blackbird Singing gives us extraordinary access to the inner life of one of the most influential figures of twentieth-century culture. Whether commenting on the strange unpredictability of life ("Little Willow") or the heinous folly of nuclear weapons ("Chasing the Cherry"), no one is more able than McCartney to use language to soar above the selfishness and intolerance that can bring us down. The poems here demonstrate, against an acknowledgment of the solitariness of existence, an irrepressible belief in the power of words and music "to take a sad song and make it better."
"Paul McCartney is a genius with the common touch. He oozes a creativity that expresses itself in music, painting, poetry and in the attitude to life which informs all his art. People who admire him will want these 52 poems and 25 lyrics simply as a reminder of all that he, mainly through his songs, has meant to them....Unlike more rarefied poets, who communicate mostly with each other in obscure crannies of our culture, McCartney writes as freely (and often as beautifully) as a blackbird sings. He really can't help himself, but must record his experience of the world in new creations that at once pay tribute to what's familiar and interpret it uniquely, with a vividness all our own." Stephen Logan, The Sunday Times [London]
"[T]his is the first time Sir Paul McCartney has released his writings in a single collection, and the results are decidedly strong....when McCartney's writings succeed?as many of them do in Blackbird Singing ? they become nothing short of exhilarating." Peter Neil Nason, Tampa Tribune
"Sir Paul McCartney?painter, composer, and songwriter (even the Queen taps her feet to "Penny Lane")?has been steadily writing poetry along with the lyrics memorized by much of the world....There are the grand and expected songs, such as "Hey Jude," "Yesterday," and "Eleanor Rigby"; ditties like "Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da" and surreal oddities like "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window"; elegies for McCartney's wife, Linda Eastman McCartney, and for friend Ivan Vaughan; and a variety of verse, such as "To Find the Joy": "Seagulls spiral whirl / Against the sullen oak / No scientific thought informs / Their madcap swirl."...While McCartney is of a completely different cast than Bob Dylan, his appeal may be even greater than that of the latter great poet-songwriter." Publishers Weekly
"McCartney isn't aiming at literary greatness. These campaigning, elegiac, impressionistic poems are more about message than stylistic mastery. It would be to miss their point to use them as fodder in the endless "is Bob Dylan better than Keats" debate....There is a new generation of poets coming up?writers as influenced by Elvis Costello as by daffodils. Blackbird Singing will not satisfy the academics. But it might be a first step in a fresh direction for many new readers. Could poetry even become the new rock 'n' roll?" Rachel Campbell-Johnston, The Times [London]
"McCartney writes as freely--and often as beautifully--as a blackbird sings....[He] is a genius with the common touch."--Stephen Logan, [London]
"McCartney writes as freely--and often as beautifully--as a blackbird sings....[He] is a genius with the common touch."--Stephen Logan, The Sunday Times [London]
The hardcover publication of , the first collection of Paul McCartney's poems and lyrics, was an international cultural event--celebrated in concert halls, at literary festivals, and in newspapers and magazines throughout the world. "While McCartney is of a completely different cast than Bob Dylan, his appeal may be even greater than that of the latter great poet-songwriter," wrote ; hailed McCartney's words as "a remarkable feat of historical imagination." The best-selling now includes several new poems and lyrics, including "Freedom," which McCartney performed in New York City at a benefit concert last fall. To actually read McCartney's poems, whether exuberant ballads of love or poignant messages of deepest grief, is to appreciate the electrifying power of the confluence of dream and song. Inspired by his late wife, Linda McCartney, gives us extraordinary access to the inner life of one of the most influential figures of our time.
About the Author
Sir Paul McCartney is one of the most admired contemporary poets and songwriters. He lives in England.
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