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Loss (Hardback)

David Harsent

A sequence of intricately patterned verses that capture the lyrical, dream-like intensity of a mind at night.

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The city never sleeps. Silence would weaken it.

When all else fails it talks to itself seamless thrum of
machinery dark undertone.

It is 00:00 and the full of the night yet to come.

A man sits at a window through the dead hours of night, his sleep broken by troubling dreams of a figure in a white landscape. This fragmentary vigil anchors a series of narrative sections in which a dramatic voice – which might well be an interior monologue – gives, first, an account of the man, then addresses him directly. We learn of a conflicted childhood, of love lost to circumstance, of the press of death on the protagonist’s waking thoughts. He is a man afflicted by personal loss, but also a man of his time, all too aware of the troubled world in which he lives.

In this powerful sequence, David Harsent’s breathtaking formal skills are always in evidence. Intense, lyrical and passionate, Loss makes for enthralling reading.

‘A master of the human drama.’ John Burnside

Critic Reviews

In my view, we have no finer poet than Harsent in these islands today, and this book is among his best, a masterpiece that is at once an unflinching diagnosis of how we live now and a map, as he writes, “that will take you to the edge of things”.

New Statesman Books of the Year

David Harsent has published eleven collections of poetry. Night (2011) was a Poetry Book Society Choice, was shortlisted for the Costa, Forward and T. S. Eliot poetry prizes and won the Griffin International Poetry Prize. The most recent, Fire Songs, was published in 2014 and won the T. S. Eliot Prize.

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