Wolf Tongue: Selected Poems 1965-2000 Review

Wolf Tongue: Selected Poems 1965-2000
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Wolf Tongue: Selected Poems 1965-2000 ReviewI saw Barry MacSweeney at a poetry reading in Huddersfield, about 1998. He was a wreck that night, but a fascinating reader.
His poetry is rambling, occasionally incoherent, repetitive, and rude, so it should come as no suprise that it is also fitfully very beautiful and true. The whole of "Pearl" is reproduced here, which is disappointing if you already possess it because it comprises at least a quarter of the book. The selection from his other numerous books and pamphlets should have been larger - for instance it contains very few early poems. Having said that, Bloodaxe have honoured an important and neglected man. The Collected will make an even more worthy investment of their time, and yours.Wolf Tongue: Selected Poems 1965-2000 OverviewBarry MacSweeney was born in 1948 and died in 2000. He published numerous collections, including The Templars of Hazard and The Book of Demons, his last book. It recorded his fierce fight against alcoholism as well as the great love of those who helped save his life--though only for three more years. When he died he had just assembled a retrospective of his work. Wolf Tongue is his own selection, with the addition of the last two books that many regard as his finest work, Pearl and The Book of Demons. Most of his poetry was out-of-print, and much had never been widely published. The title is his. He was a contrary, a lone wolf. His ear for soaring, lyric melody was unmatched, and "his poetry became dark as blue steel, edging towards what became his domain: the lament"--The Independent. His poetry places a radical, critical energy, unsparing of illusions, and bitter and comic in its self-appraisal, at the disposal of a clear-eyed celebration of the world.

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