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Fresh Out of the Sky | Bloodaxe Books
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George Szirtes

Fresh Out of the Sky

George Szirtes

Publication Date : 21 Oct 2021

ISBN: 9781780375847

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

Fresh Out of the Sky is a book of songs, dreams, laments, narratives and comedies about major life-changes involving country, identity and belonging. It is about perpetually standing at the edge of change, anticipating it, reflecting on it and dreaming about it.

The title sequence of the book returns to the terza rima theme of memory, following sequences in George Szirtes' earlier books, such as those about his early Budapest childhood explored in Reel, and about growing to adulthood in England in An English Apocalypse. Here the theme is his arrival in England as a child in 1956.

These are followed by the second part of The Yellow Room, a continuing poem of impossible questions about identity as residual Jewishness, in the form of a dialogue with Szirtes' late father.

After that there is a brief section of bridging poems set in the aftermath of war, upheaval and life in contemporary England that leads to Going Viral, a substantial section of ten-line poems, divided into brief chapters, presenting dreamlike reports from the Covid bunkers we have all been inhabiting and ending on occasions of consolation, delight and joy in the midst of darkness and uncertainty.

The book then moves, by way of five interludes, from one dreamlike experience to another, in the form of nine dream songs set in an unstable social and political landscape.

The last section steps from dream to a bestiary of transformations woven through Guillaume Apollinaire and Graham Sutherland.

‘The latest collection by the T S Eliot Prize-winning poet contains poems relating to country, identity, memory, belonging, war and upheaval, many of which relate to his arrival in England as young child after his family fled the 1956 Hungarian uprising.’ – Caroline Sanderson, The Bookseller (October 2021 highlights, on Fresh Out of the Sky)

‘Without question, George Szirtes is the most distinguished poet now living in England. Hungary’s loss was England’s gain in 1956 and those elements of Budapest Jewish life that Szirtes has reclaimed imaginatively only serve to enrich and expand England’s poetic consciousness.... Dealing with the most dreadful, dark materials, painfully honest about exile and isolation, Fresh Out of the Sky is, unexpectedly, a joyous and life-affirming work.’ – Thomas McCarthy, Dublin Review of Books

'His latest volume of poems is a tour de force of what he has termed ‘the music of what happens’, a supremely well-modulated examination of both his own life and the world at large as seen through the eyes of someone, in Bob Dylan’s words, ‘always on the outside of whatever side there was’.' - Nick Cooke, London Grip (on Fresh Out of the Sky)

‘His newest collection of poems, Fresh Out of the Sky, was published by Bloodaxe Books in October 2021. It is a six-part meditation on country, identity, Judaism, belonging and political upheaval. In a world that seems to be growing ever more divided by borders–both physical and ideological—Szirtes brings beauty and humanity to the experience of migration. He reminds us why translation and art are essential in understanding one another and imagining worlds beyond our own.’ - Rose Bialer, Asymptote

‘With each collection, the past is redrawn through a mastery of form that we come to expect from this poet, (Szirtes is surely our contemporary master of both the terza-rima and sonnet crown).’ – Andrew McDonnell, Ink, Sweat & Tears, on Fresh Out of the Sky

‘George Szirtes’ Fresh Out of the Sky sees us visit a complex and varied range of landscapes, memories, and thoughts, from Brighton to Budapest, as if along a Hen Harrier’s flight pattern, in a poetry of energetic formal confidence.’ – Derek Coyle, The High Window

‘A brilliantly virtuosic collection of deeply felt poems concerned with the personal impact of the dislocations and betrayals of history. The judges were impressed by the unusual degree of formal pressure exerted by Szirtes on his themes of memory and the impossibility of forgetting.’– Douglas Dunn, on Reel, winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize

‘A major contribution to post-war literature…Using a painter-like collage of images to retrieve lost times, lives, cities and betrayed hopes, Szirtes weaves his personal and historical themes into work of profound psychological complexity.’ – Anne Stevenson, Poetry Review

‘… 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]

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

 

George Szirtes reads from Fresh Out of the Sky at the Bloodaxe online launch

George Szirtes read poems from Fresh Out of the Sky at this Bloodaxe online launch event shared with Claire Askew and Annemarie Austin whose three collections were all published in October 2021. At the end of readings Bloodaxe editor Neil Astley hosted a discussion between Claire and George about their new books.

 

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.

 

Ireland & EU: Click here to order from Books Upstairs in Dublin

USA: Click here to order from Indiebound or Bookshop.org

  

BOOKS BY George Szirtes

Collected Poems

Freda Downie

Collected Poems

Publication Date : 29 Jun 1995

Read More   amazon.co.uk
The Night of Akhenaton

Ágnes Nemes Nagy

The Night of Akhenaton

Selected Poems

Publication Date : 27 Jan 2004

Read More   amazon.co.uk
Bad Machine

George Szirtes

Bad Machine

Publication Date : 24 Jan 2013

Read More   amazon.co.uk
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

Read More   amazon.co.uk

RELATED BOOKS

Reading George Szirtes
New & Collected Poems
Mapping the Delta
The Burning of the Books and other poems

Related News & Publicity

Poetry Events


George Szirtes Readings

George Szirtes Readings

George Szirtes' joint online launch for Fresh Out of the Sky is available to watch on YouTube.

Read More  |  View All

News & Publicity


George Szirtes on BBC Radio 3 & Radio 4

George Szirtes on BBC Radio 3 & Radio 4

George Szirtes was Michael Berkeley's guest on Radio 3's Private Passions; interviews on BBC Radio 4's Poems at Dusk (a Radio 4 Pick of the Week)& online at Asymptote....

Read More  |  View All

Poetry Events


Launch reading by Claire Askew, Annemarie Austin and George Szirtes

Launch reading by Claire Askew, Annemarie Austin and George Szirtes

Joint live-streamed launch reading by Claire Askew, Annemarie Austin and George Szirtes on 19 October 2021 is now on YouTube.

Read More  |  View All

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