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Where Have You Been?

Michael Hofmann

Twenty-five illuminating essays on writers and artists from one of the keenest critics of contemporary literature.

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A new selection of essays from Michael Hofmann – one of our most exceptional critics of contemporary literature.

‘Superb and invigorating.’ Nicholas Shakespeare, Daily Telegraph

In these thirty essays, Hofmann brings his signature wit and sustained critical mastery to a poetic, penetrating, and candid discussion of the writers and artists of the last hundred years. Here are the indispensable poets without which contemporary poetry would be unimaginable – Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Lowell, and the man he calls the greatest English poet since Shakespeare, Ted Hughes. But he also illumines the despair of John Berryman and the antics of poetry’s bogeyman, Frederick Seidel.

In essays on art that are themselves works of art, Hofmann’s agile and brilliant mind explores a panoply of subjects from the mastery of translation to the best day job for a poet. Where Have You Been? is an unmissable journey with literature’s most irresistible flaneur. At the same time, it is a story of love between a reader and his treasured books.

Critic Reviews

Superb and invigorating.

Nicholas Shakespeare, Daily Telegraph
Critic Reviews

The poets Hofmann admires spring to life on the page. The writing is high-spirited and exhilarating and generous ... In this book, in which there seem to be all the different ways of being a poet, I see all the different ways of being a person, all the ways of living.

Susie Boyt, Financial Times
Critic Reviews

'The poet and translator Michael Hofmann is one of the most charismatic figures on the contemporary literary scene ... Where Have You Been? is a stunning, endlessly surprising book of critiscism.'

Terry Kelly, The London Magazine
Critic Reviews

Michael Hofmann's thirty essays are each a masterclass in how to write about writing, and especially about poetry. He combines wit, fine judgement and a great wisdom with a plain style.

David Collard, TLS, Books for Summer
Critic Reviews

To anyone in my line of work, this learned, stylish and passionate critic evokes feelings of deep admiration tinged with the ambient fear you get in the quiet bits of a horror film.

Sam Leith, TLS, Books for summer
Critic Reviews

Michael Hofmann has skeptical intelligence, an observant eye, a compulsion to speak the unspeakable, and the useful wariness of the displaced person.

Helen Vendler, New York Review of Books

Michael Hofmann was born in 1957 in Freiburg, Germany, and came to England in 1961. He has published four volumes of poems and won a Cholmondeley Award and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize for poetry. His translations have won many awards, including the Independent‘s Foreign Fiction Award, the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the P.E.N./Book of the Month Club Translation…

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