Like the work of the European poets who have nourished him, David Constantine’s poetry is informed by a profoundly humane vision of the world. Many of the poems in his latest collection spring from particular localities: Scilly, the North of England, Southern France, the Aegean, Wales; others from certain places (loci) in literature and mythology. Inspired by such ‘local habitations' and the people who live there, the poems of Elder express gratitude and loyalty, but also grief at every harm and death.
Published on his 70th birthday, David Constantine's tenth book of poetry sounds many personal elegiac notes as well as – in the story of Erysichthon, for example – anxiety at the abuse of Earth, but there is also much celebration of love, beauty and the hope and aspiration in human beings to live well in the time allowed.
'The publication of David Constantine's Elder marks the poet and translator's 70th birthday with a work of impressive range and scale. It manifests his lifelong devotion to the classics and to German, and enables us to see and hear more fully how they have contributed to his own inimitably passionate lyricism.' - Sean O'Brien, Guardian
‘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, Times Literary Supplement
David Constantine reads from Elder
David Constantine read five poems from Elder: ‘Old Town’, ‘Elder’, ‘How will they view us, the receiving angels?’, ‘The Rec’ and ‘Our Lady of the Blackthorn and the Snow’. Neil Astley filmed Constantine reading selections of his poems from his books at his home in Oxford in June 2018. There are separate videos for poems from each of his collections.