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Seeing Stars

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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
  • Walking Home

    Walking Home
    Travels With a Troubadour on the Pennine Way
    In summer 2010 Simon Armitage decided to walk the Pennine Way. The challenging 256-mile route is usually approached from south to north, from Edale in the Peak District to Kirk Yetholm, the other side of the Scottish border. He resolved to tackle it the other way round: through beautiful and bleak terrain, across lonely fells and into the howling wind, he would be walking home, towards the Yorkshire village where he was born.Travelling as a 'modern troubadour' without a penny in his pocket, he stopped along the way to give poetry readings in village halls, churches, pubs and living rooms. His audiences varied from the passionate to the indifferent, and his readings were accompanied by the clacking of pool balls, the drumming of rain and the bleating of sheep.Walking Home describes this extraordinary, yet ordinary, journey. It's a story about Britain's remote and overlooked interior - the wildness of its landscape and the generosity of the locals who sustained him on his way. It's about facing emotional and physical challenges, and sometimes overcoming them. It's nature writing, but with people at heart. Contemplative, moving and droll, it is a unique narrative from one of our most beloved writers.

    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.”

    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

    Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
    Already a classic of modern translation, this fresh, vibrant work by dynamic British poet Simon Armitage updates the late fourteenth-century poem for a new generation. The story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, in its depiction of Arthurian landscapes, dreamlike castles, and violent winter journeys, demands a peerless storyteller, and, "like the Gawain poet [himself], Armitage is some storyteller" (The Guardian). The work is an unparalleled masterpiece of alliteration and rhyme, and "[Armitage's] version inventively recreates the original's gnarled, hypnotic music ... but also has a free-flowing, colloquial twang that allows the poem to partake of the energies of contemporary speech" (Financial Times).

    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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