George Szirtes

Mapping the Delta

George Szirtes

Publication Date : 20 Oct 2016

ISBN: 9781780373201

Pages: 65
Size :216 x 138mm
Rights: World

Poetry Book Society Choice

The Delta is a densely populated place. Whole countries inhabit it, exercising their powers and authority, presenting their offers of complicity and compliance. Individuals move through the night and come upon themselves in its mirrors. Dreamers and fantasists repopulate its hidden corners: Rimbaud, Bruno Schultz, William Blake, Arthur Schnitzler and the physicist Dennis Gabor lay claim to their own visions of it.

Animals gaze at their human companions who gaze back. They try to puzzle each other out, looking to climb into each other’s eyes. They court each other, desire their own species, are captivated both by each other’s and their own beauty. Life goes on its desultory way, finding itself between creeks and cracks. And occasionally the world does crack open. Planes crash, boats sink, weather changes, floodwaters rise, people vanish on journeys. Anxiety remains: disaster zones persist into old age and death, and into the life, death and resurrection of language itself.

At the core of the book is The Yellow Room, a sequence of mirror poems contemplating the Jewishness of the poet’s father. The room constricts and glows. The poem breaks up across the page at intervals then reassembles into its mirrors.

Many of the poems are formal haiku sequences. They are new parts of a personal Delta. Others are in rhymed and broken stanzas.  The Delta has to survive – if it survives at all – on its broken patterns.

‘… I am immensely excited by George Szirtes’s new collection, which looks at the delta, both as a fluvial concept and part of his anglo-European identity.’ – John Owen, Country & Town House, Christmas Books

‘… a distinguished poet who transcends boundaries with deep insights into our turbulent times… readers who are lovers of poetry would do well to savour these poems one by one.’ – Moris Farhi, The Jewish Chronicle [on Mapping the Delta]

‘Beautifully crafted, this is a fine collection from a poet at the top of his game.’ – Trevor Heaton, Eastern Daily Press [on Mapping the Delta]

Mapping the Delta touches upon nearly every meaningful human experience, every ‘moment’ in a lifespan, from falling in love to losing a parent… Mapping the Delta wears its emotionalism lightly and its beautiful images modestly.  Best of all, it carries its wide experience, sweet hope, garrulous humour and wise joyfulness with life-affirming pride: an important corrective when so much else in the world seems dark and devastated.’ – Bidisha, The Poetry Review




Patrick Stewart reads George Szirtes’ ‘The Matrix Reloaded’

Sir Patrick Stewart read George Szirtes’ poem ‘The Matrix Reloaded’ – included in his collection Mapping the Delta – as part of a Voices for Choices literary event organised by Campaign for Dignity in Dying in May 2013.


George Szirtes: 'Metro'

George Szirtes reads two extracts from his long poem-sequence 'Metro' from his New & Collected Poems. This film is from the DVD-book In Person: 30 Poets, filmed by Pamela Robertson-Pearce, edited by Neil Astley, which includes several poems read by George Szirtes from his New & Collected Poems. <



BOOKS BY George Szirtes

Collected Poems

Freda Downie

Collected Poems

Publication Date : 29 Jun 1995
The Night of Akhenaton

Ágnes Nemes Nagy

The Night of Akhenaton

Selected Poems

Publication Date : 27 Jan 2004
Bad Machine

George Szirtes

Bad Machine

Publication Date : 24 Jan 2013
Fortinbras at the Fishhouses

George Szirtes

Fortinbras at the Fishhouses

Responsibility, the Iron Curtain and the sense of history as knowledge: Newcastle/Bloodaxe Poetry Lectures

Publication Date : 25 Mar 2010

Related News & Publicity

News & Publicity

George Szirtes on Free Thinking

George Szirtes on Free Thinking

George Szirtes on Mapping the Delta & Hungary: Radio 3's Free Thinking

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