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Conjure

Michael Donaghy

28 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0330391100 / ISBN 13: 9780330391108
Published by Picador, 2000
New Condition: New Soft cover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Conjure

Publisher: Picador

Publication Date: 2000

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition:New

Edition: First.

About this title

Synopsis:

Conjure is Michael Donaghy’s third collection, and his most accomplished to date, displaying the same trademark elegance, sleight of hand and philosophical wit that have established his reputation as a ‘poet’s poet’.

But while these poems time their feints and punches as well as ever, often the poet’s guard is deliberately kept down: Conjure’s elegies and disappearing acts, love songs and tortuous journeys represent the most challenging, vulnerable and moving work Donaghy has yet written.

‘Among the finest American poets of his generation’ Robert McPhillips

‘The artistry of Donaghy’s work seems to me exemplary’ Sean O’Brien

‘The fine-tuned precision of a twelve-speed bike’ Alfred Corn

Review:

This collection of poems by Michael Donaghy begins impressively. The first poem, "The Excuse", is a comic-but-elegiac, sly-yet-touching riff on the pain of losing and remembering a father: "'My father's sudden death has shocked us all', Even me, and I've just made it up". The second, equally sensitive poem "Not Knowing the Words", also deals with a dead father, but this time gently and eloquently argues with itself as to how the father's void can be filled. Then there's the fourth poem, "Black Ice and Rain". This is a true tour de force: a shocking, troubling, mercurial, coolly erotic and beautiful poem on love, loss, guilt and secrecy:

and where I've hoped to hear my name gasped out, from cradle, love bed, death bed, there instead I catch her voice, her broken lisp, his name
.It would be very difficult for any poet to sustain this very high quality of writing, and Donaghy doesn't. Later on in Conjure there is more than one insubstantial lyric, the odd bit of hack writing, some shorter verses that could have been excluded. But just when you are getting wearied Donaghy throws up another absolute gem, another breathtaking poem which sparkles with his tell-tale wit, demotic bathos, verbal dexterity, emotional candour, pure lyrical style and formal diversity. --Sean Thomas

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