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Portobello Sonnets Harry Clifton

Portobello Sonnets By Harry Clifton

Portobello Sonnets by Harry Clifton

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Sonnets by one of Ireland's leading poets celebrating his own part of Dublin: also a coming to terms with age and a rediscovering of the universal in the local.

Portobello Sonnets Summary

Portobello Sonnets by Harry Clifton

Portobello, the district in Dublin where the Irish poet Harry Clifton lives, is a microcosm of a changing, cosmopolitan Ireland. These sonnets, written on his return from sixteen years in continental Europe, are at once a celebration of place, a coming to terms with age and a rediscovering of the universal in the local. Harry Clifton has published seven other books of poetry, most recently The Holding Centre: Selected Poems 1974-2004 (2014) and The Winter Sleep of Captain Lemass (2012) from Bloodaxe, and Secular Eden: Paris Notebooks 1994-2004 (2007), winner of the Irish Times / Poetry Now Award, from Wake Forest University Press in the US. His other books include On the Spine of Italy (1999), his prose study of an Abruzzese mountain community, and Berkeley's Telephone (2007), a collection of short fiction.

Portobello Sonnets Reviews

Clifton's civilised appreciation of the cosmopolitan fluidity of his chosen place is matched by the fluency of these sonnets... Clifton's is a sophisticated and humanistic imagination, alert to the saving human detail and at some level always in search of the bigger picture. His work is ridden by time and the sense that there is nothing new under the sun except the capacity for seeing the world afresh. -- Sean O'Brien * Guardian *
In Harry Clifton's magisterial Portobello Sonnets (Bloodaxe Books), the everyday life of Portobello is seen in the light of his unflagging poetic quest. It is heartening to see the poet striking out, undaunted, into new imaginative territory. -- Michael O'Loughlin * The Irish Times, Books of the Year *
These thirty-five sonnets from 2004-05, running in their narrow grooves, remain a remarkable achievement, and they also show him firmly claiming the poet's privilege of remaining on the edge... his voice in Portobello Sonnets claims a poetic authority as willed, as unambiguous, as James Clarence Mangan's. -- Eilean Ni Chuilleanain * Dublin Review of Books *

About Harry Clifton

Harry Clifton was born in 1952 in Dublin, where he was educated at Blackrock College and University College, Dublin. After graduating, Clifton began an extended period of travel outside of Ireland. Many of his experiences from this time had major influence on his poetry because he believes the true home of the poet is 'not in a place, but in the language itself'. He lectured at a teacher training college in Nigeria In the early 1970s, and has lived in places throughout Europe, Africa and Asia, working as an aid administrator in Thailand for Indo-Chinese refugees in the 1980s. He wrote On the Spine of Italy: A Year in the Abruzzi (Macmillan, 1999), a prose work based on a year he spent in Italy's Abruzzi Mountains. He subsequently lived in Switzerland, England and Germany before settling in Paris for ten years, a period that he recorded in Secular Eden: Paris Notebooks 1994-2004 (Wake Forest University Press, 2007). His poems have been translated into several European languages, with a French translation of selected poems, Le Canto d'Ulysse, published in 1996. He also published a book of stories, Berkeley's Telephone & Other Fictions (Lilliput Press, 2000). He now lives in Dublin with his wife, Irish novelist Deirdre Madden, and teaches at University College Dublin. He has published ten books of poetry, including The Desert Route: Selected Poems 1973-88, published by the Gallery Press in Ireland and Bloodaxe Books in Britain in 1992. His latest titles are The Winter Sleep of Captain Lemass (2012), The Holding Centre: Selected Poems 1974-2004 (2014), Portobello Sonnets (2017), and Herod's Dispensations (due 2019); all published by Bloodaxe Books in Britain and Ireland, and by Wake Forest University Press in the USA. Harry Clifton was poet-in-residence at the Frost Place in New Hampshire, an International Fellow at the University of Iowa, and a representative for Ireland at the International Writing Program in Iowa. He has held many teaching positions at universities, including Bremen and Bordeaux in France, and Trinity College and University College, Dublin, in Ireland. In 2008, Clifton won the Irish Times Poetry Now Award for Secular Eden, and was shortlisted for the same award in 2012 for The Winter Sleep of Captain Lemass. He served as the fifth Ireland Professor of Poetry in 2010-2013, and is a member of Aosdana.

Table of Contents

1 'Dublin under sea-fog, dreeping weather...' 9 2 'Look me up, with the blind, the lame and the halt...' 10 3 'Overnight snow in the east...' 11 4 'Tell me, does anyone ever get blind drunk...' 12 5 'How to survive the dangerous Dublin stretch... 13 6 'The envelope, bright yellow or bright blue... 14 7 (Death of an Editor) 15 8 'The man in here, demanding time and silence...' 16 9 'When you emerge from the other end of books...' 17 10 'They frighten me slightly, those nice boys and girls...' 18 11 'Who was it said we're born in the second act?' 19 12 (To the singer Freddie White) 20 13 'Linoleum, yellow light...' 21 14 'Rogue narcissus, how did you get in there...' 22 15 'Clouds, too, are incoming information...' 23 16 'What feeds the secret sources?' 24 17 'Is there a lockkeeper here, who understands...' 25 18 'These are the days that March has lent to April...' 26 19 'Crunch of a car, in the gravelled yard below...' 27 20 'Not for us high priesthood, Dan and I...' 28 21 'With Jeremiah's lamentations sung...' 29 22 'The Pope and Rainier dead, Saul Bellow dead...' 30 23 'Dim snugs, in coloured little towns...' 31 24 'People I meet, on the blind wheel of fortune...' 32 25 'I have it in mind, North African gentlemen...' 33 26 'Sitting still, or hurtling through the noosphere...' 34 27 'Weeping, I feel better...' 35 28 '"'I saw an extraordinary thing, the other day..."' 36 29 (For Marina, who cut my hair) 37 30 'Ask yourself, as you struggle with your pen...' 38 31 (The Night Bakery) 39 32 'High up here, in the northern latitudes...' 40 33 'Water is there to be looked at, not looked into...' 41 34 'Today I have been a good boy...' 42 35 'Even Christ, in his unrecorded years...' 43 Epilogue: William Bates, 1931-2013 45

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Portobello Sonnets by Harry Clifton
Bloodaxe Books Ltd
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