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This collection, drawing on almost forty years of verse, represents the definitive guide to one of the leading English poets working today. It will allow the reader the chance to survey both the remarkable variety and the consistent quality of O’Brien’s work, as well as the enduring strength of his obsessions: these have helped create a tone and a landscape as immediately recognizable as those of MacNeice, Larkin or Eliot. O’Brien’s hells and heavens, underworlds and urban dystopias, trains and waterways have formed the imaginative theatre for his songs, satires, pastorals and elegies; throughout, the poems demonstrate O’Brien’s astonishing flair for the dramatic line, where he has inherited the mantle of W. H. Auden. Also included are selections from both O’Brien’s dramatic writing and his acclaimed version of the Inferno.
- Pan Macmillan, November 2012
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