The Donkey's Ears

Douglas Dunn
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ISBN 9780571204267 Format Paperback
Published 08/05/2000 Length 160 pages

About Book

A wonderfully sustained narrative poem, full of the resonances and repercussions attendant on the end of an era, The Donkey's Ears depicts life aboard a Russian flagship just before the battle of Tsushima, 1905. It purports to be written by E.S. Politovsky, a ship's engineer addressing his wife in letters back home. Known as 'The Trafalgar of the East', Tsushima (which, translated from the Japanese, means 'The Donkey's Ears' - a description of the twin peaks of the islands) was the biggest naval gun-battle in history. The action of the poem takes place before the battle. A vividly realized claustrophobia prevails. Life below and on deck is brilliantly detailed as is the sense of incipient doom; one man's voice (domestic, particular, yearning for wife and home comforts) pitched against the inexorable onslaught of events.
  • About Douglas Dunn

    Douglas Dunn was born in Inchinnan, Renfrewshire, in 1942 and lived there until he married at the age of twenty-two. After working as a librarian in Scotland and Akron, Ohio, he studied English at Hull University, graduating in 1969. He then worked for eighteen months in the university library after which, in 1971, he became a freelance writer. In 1991 he was appointed Professor in the School of English at the University of St Andrews. As well as ten collections of poetry, including Elegies (1985), The Year's Afternoon, The Donkey's Ears (both 2000), and New Selected Poems 1964-2000 (2003), Douglas Dunn has written several radio and television plays, including Ploughman's Share and Scotsman by Moonlight. He has also edited various anthologies, including Twentieth-Century Scottish Poetry (2006). Douglas Dunn has won a Somerset Maugham Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, and has twice been awarded prizes by the Scottish Arts Council. In 1981 he was awarded the Hawthornden Prize for St Kilda's Parliament. In January 1986 he was overall winner of the 1985 Whitbread Book of the Year Award for his collection Elegies.

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