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Seeing Stars

Poems

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Hardcover published by Knopf (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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About This Book
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.
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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.
Product Details
Hardcover (96 pages)
Published: August 2, 2011
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Knopf
ISBN: 9780307594839
Other books bySimon Armitage
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
    One of the earliest great stories of English literature after

    Tyrannosaurus Rex Versus the Corduroy Kid

    Tyrannosaurus Rex Versus the Corduroy Kid
    From one of the most important British poets at work today comes a brilliant new collection that meditates on human battles past and present, on youth and age, on monsters and underdogs, on the life of nations and the individual heart. In Tyrannosaurus Rex Versus the Corduroy Kid, we meet a writer who speaks naturally, and with frankness and restraint, for his culture. Armitage witnesses the pathos of women at work in the mock-Tudor Merrie England coffeehouses and gives us a backstage take on the world of Oliver Twist and the Artful Dodger. He makes a gift to the reader of the sympathy and misery and grit buried in his nation’s collective consciousness: in the distant battle depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry and in the daily lives and petty crimes of ordinary people. In poems that are sometimes lyrical, sometimes brash and comic, and full of living voices, the extraordinary and the mythic grow out of the ordinary, and figures of diminishment and tragedy shine forth as mysterious, uncelebrated exemplars. Armitage tells us ruefully that “the future was a beautiful place, once,” and with a steady eye out for the odd mystery or joyous scrap of experience, examines our complex present instead. AFTER THE HURRICANE Some storm that was, to shoulder-charge the wall in my old man’s back yard and knock it flat. But the greenhouse is sound, the chapel of glass we glazed one morning. We glazed with morning. And so is the hut. And so is the shed. We sit in the ruins and drink. He smokes. Back when, we would have built that wall again. But today it’s enough to drink and smoke amongst mortar and bricks, here at the empire’s end. From the Hardcover edition.

    Walking Home

    Walking Home
    A Poet's Journey
    The wandering poet has always been a feature of our cultural imagination. Odysseus journeys home, his famous flair for storytelling seducing friend and foe. The Romantic poets tramped all over the Lake District searching for inspiration. Now Simon Armitage, with equal parts enthusiasm and trepidation, as well as a wry humor all his own, has taken on Britain’s version of our Appalachian Trail: the Pennine Way. Walking “the backbone of England” by day (accompanied by friends, family, strangers, dogs, the unpredictable English weather, and a backpack full of Mars Bars), each evening he gives a poetry reading in a different village in exchange for a bed. Armitage reflects on the inextricable link between freedom and fear as well as the poet’s place in our bustling world. In Armitage’s own words, “to embark on the walk is to surrender to its lore and submit to its logic, and to take up a challenge against the self.”

    The Shout

    The Shout
    Selected Poems
    Now in paperback, the powerful selected work of Simon Armitage, the most distinctive poetic voice of contemporary Britain. Simon Armitage is arguably the leading British poet of the past twenty years. His knowledge of the English just as they are ("a gentleman farmer / living on reduced means, a cricketer's widow, / sowing a kitchen garden with sweet peas"), his colloquial Yorkshire wit and eye for situational ironies, his ability to steal up on us with the surreal while capturing the ordinary speech of everyday life: these qualities place him at the forefront of British poetry today. This slim volume is the perfect introduction to his work for newcomers, or the ideal selection for longtime readers to keep on the bedside table.

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