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The poems in A Smell of Fish connect and radiate like the spokes of a wheel: haiku, sestinas, poems beginning with a line by somebody else or sparked off by foreign travel, a version of Dante, a sea sequence set on the Suffolk coast, and - long overdue - Matthew Sweeney's own version of the old Irish poem where his namesake is turned into a bird. In this, his seventh collection, we are back in a world where all explanations are withheld. 'If Beckett and Kafka come to mind', as Sean O'Brien wrote in his essay on Sweeney in The Deregulated Muse, 'they are not simply influences but kindred imaginations'. So we encounter a valley mysteriously filling with the smell of fish, second-world-war planes reappearing over London, a secret attic mural of a naked ex-lover, a cosmonaut abandoned on the moon, and a subterranean tunnel that runs the length of Ireland. Whatever the subject, we are in the confident hands of one of the most imaginatively gifted poets now writing.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780224060677
ISBN-10: 0224060678
Format: Paperback
(193mm x 132mm x 14mm)
Pages: 80
Imprint: Jonathan Cape Ltd
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 2-Mar-2000
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Matthew Sweeney

Matthew Sweeney was born in Donegal. Apart from his poetry, he has written children's fiction and edited three anthologies, Beyond Bedlam (with Ken Smith), Emergency Kit (with Jo Shapcott) and the New Faber Book of Children's Verse. Cape published his Selected Poems in 2002, and Sanctuary in 2004.

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