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Selected Poems
by James Fenton

Overview - "Listen to what they did.""Don't listen to what they said.""What was written in blood""Has been set up in lead."--from "Blood and Lead" The leading poet of his generation, James Fenton has over the course of his career built a body of work breathtaking in its range and sensibility.  Read more...

 
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More About Selected Poems by James Fenton
 
 
 
Overview
"Listen to what they did.""Don't listen to what they said.""What was written in blood""Has been set up in lead."--from "Blood and Lead" The leading poet of his generation, James Fenton has over the course of his career built a body of work breathtaking in its range and sensibility. From the passionate political poems that launched him into fame to the intimate illuminations of love--and loss of love--in his later work, Fenton's poetry has always been marked by formal daring, wit, and an abiding empathy for the victims of war and political oppression. With selections from all of his published work since "The Memory of War," the entire text of his libretto "The Love Bomb," and new, previously uncollected poems, "Selected Poems "is an imaginative and formal tour de force.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780374260651
  • ISBN-10: 0374260656
  • Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
  • Publish Date: October 2006
  • Page Count: 196


Related Categories

Books > Poetry > European - English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh

 
BookPage Reviews

The best from Britain

James Fenton has long been one of England's most celebrated poets. His work—prickly, spiny, short on sentiment—features a bleak realism that's balanced by a rapscallion sort of humor. His Selected Poems spans 30 years, providing a wonderful overview of his distinguished career.

Fenton, who is 58, got his start as a reporter in Southeast Asia—an experience that informed his earliest poetry. "Children in Exile" focuses on a Cambodian family suffering from the displacement of war: "I hear a child moan in the next room and I see / The nightmare spread like rain across his face / And his limbs twitch in some vestigial combat / In some remembered place." A haunting image like this one, couched in a quatrain, described in rhyme, is made all the more forceful by its formal setting. This use of traditional structures often heightens the irony of Fenton's verse. "God: A Poem" is a classic example: "I didn't exist at Creation / I didn't exist at the Flood / And I won't be around for Salvation / To sort out the sheep from the cud—" Playful yet perverse, the lines are a crystalline representation of Fenton's singular aesthetic.

 
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