Poetry Book Society Recommendation
David Constantine is one the finest poets writing in English. His poetry stands outside the current literary climate, and like the work of the European poets who have nourished him, it is informed by a profoundly humane vision of the world. Its mood is often one of unease, elegiac or comically edged, barbed with pain or tinged with pleasure. His poems hold a worried and restless balance between celebration and anxiety, restraint and longing.
His Collected Poems spans three decades, including work from seven previous Bloodaxe titles and two limited editions, as well as a whole collection of new poems. He has since published two later collections, Nine Fathom Deep (2009) and Elder (2014).
‘The mood is both tender and desperate, with something of the uncanny in its blend of the recognisably human and apparently Other… His religious regard for the world (not the same thing as religious conviction) produces a strange translation of its ordinary terms. Its colours and joys and terrors are heightened as though by fever, yet at the same time brought into clearer focus’ – Sean O'Brien, Poetry Review.
‘Constantine’s peculiar vision is an uneasy blend of the exquisite and the everyday…the beatific, the ordinary, the rebarbative even, are almost indistinguishable… Overwhelmingly the poems are intelligent and well-turned, setting out the tensions between innocence and experience with fine control’ – Elizabeth Lowry, TLS.
David Constantine reads seven poems
David Constantine reads seven poems from his Collected Poems: ‘New Year Behind the Asylum’, ‘Eldon Hole’, ‘The Wasps’,’Something for the Ghosts’, ‘Legger’, ‘Common and Particular’ and ‘Watching for Dolphins’. Neil Astley filmed him at his home in Oxford in October 2007. This film is from the DVD-anthology In Person: 30 Poets, filmed by Pamela Robertson-Pearce & edited by Neil Astley (Bloodaxe Books, 2008).