Out of Stock
At the heart of David Kennedy’s new collection is a sequence of elegies: for the poet’s father, poets Jack Beeching, Ric Caddel and Kenneth Koch, the actor Anton Walbrook and the critic Nicholas Zurbrugg. These brilliantly crafted and deeply affecting poems seek out forms and language that are appropriate not only for their subjects but for the work of mourning and consolation at the beginning of the twenty-first century. What results is an exploration of poetry as behaviour and habitation. These concerns dominate The Roads as Kennedy guides readers on exterior and interior journeys that take in lives clinging to the stony plateaux of the Auvergne and the paintings of Egon Schiele or probe the beginnings of language and the inhospitable distortions of officialese. The Roads rejects hierarchies of poetic propriety and sees a mature, confident artist exploring the full range of his concerns with exuberance and originality. The book also brings Kennedy’s much-admired sequence on Joseph Cornell’s boxes to a wider audience.
‘Kennedy offers an unblinking poetics free of specious closure ... The journey, as in Cavafy’s ‘Ithika’, is all. One arrives at the end of his poems ... entranced.’ —Poetry Review
‘He has an obvious lyric talent and the poems are often artfully under-written; they have an oddly shifted sense of perspective, perhaps with just a dash of that New York hot sauce ... Kennedy’s I’s ... are exteriorised, ironised, not the never-ending celebrations of self that one sees so often.’ —Shearsman