James, Clive Sentenced to Life

ISBN 13: 9781447284055

Sentenced to Life

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9781447284055: Sentenced to Life
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In his insightful collection of poems Clive James looks back over an extraordinarily rich life with a clear-eyed and unflinching honesty. There are regrets, but no trace of self-pity in these verses, which - for all their open dealings with death and illness - are primarily a celebration of what is treasurable and memorable in our time here.

Again and again, James reminds us that he is not only a poet of effortless wit and lyric accomplishment: he is also an immensely wise one, who delights in using poetic form to bring a razor-sharp focus to his thought. Miraculously, these poems see James writing with his insight and energy not only undiminished but positively charged by his situation: Sentenced to Life represents a career high point from one of the greatest literary intelligences of the age.

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Review:

James was diagnosed with emphysema and kidney failure in early 2010 and almost all of the poems [in Sentenced to Life] deal with his illness ("Dying by inches") and his facing up to the end of life. I read an advance copy recently and was moved, perhaps changed, by the experience. It's one thing to encounter such a poem now and then in a literary journal but to read 37 of them in one sitting is overwhelming . . . This is a sad book, depressing even, but it is full of insight and wisdom. (Stephen Romei The Australian)

A writer whose commanding voice contains a constant variety of colour and tone (Robert McCrum Observer)

Suffused with loss and guilt . . . although his impending death is ever-present in the verse, his humour still shines through . . . [James is] embarrassed at having lived with his death so long: "High time to go," he says - how many last words, deathbed aphorisms and funeral songs can his public take? Quite a few is the answer, when they resonate as these poems do at their best. Keep at it, Clive. May you go on being embarrassed for some time (Blake Morrison Guardian)

James's recent poems, of course, are so much more than fuel for Grub Street; they represent the very best work James has ever done in verse (Jason Guriel New Republic)

His book of biographical essays, Cultural Amnesia, and his epic translation of Dante's Divine Comedy may well be considered his best works in a career featuring 40-plus published endeavours. His latest poetry book, Sentenced to Life, must be considered his bravest, a 37-poem fever sweat of longing and love, regret and acceptance . . . Sentenced to Life is 56 pages of deeply intense poetic language. Even the humour in this is pitch black (Australian)

These poems, in which his braggadocio and salaciousness have been subdued by his plight, are in many ways the most sympathetic he has written. . . What is most striking about this collection is its sustained expression of sorrow (David Sexton Evening Standard)

Sentenced to Life is a valedictory volume, concerned with the end of life, and with the slow robbery of terminal illness . . . After writing poems for 50 years, his technique is deft and assured (Independent on Saturday)

His poems have a poignancy and a moving recognition of the finality of life that all must face . . . Clive James is courageously fighting his dark future with that most powerful of weapons: poetry.He may lose the battle but his words will linger (Paul Callan Express)

These tight, lyrical poems, rich in allusiveness and association, demand our full attention and we are rewarded for such engagement . . . Sentenced to Life is a relatively short book at just 56 pages of poems. Its complexity and generosity of spirit make it seem so much longer (Saturday Paper)

There are a few other things making Clive James' recent poetry particularly poignant. One is the poet's physical inability to return to his homeland for a last look. Another is the sense that from that "great bunch of guys", as James was once memorably described, the most important one was not the television star but the poet (Sydney Morning Herald)

Book Description:

Sentenced to Life was critically acclaimed on publication and went on to be the bestselling original poetry collection in the UK in 2015.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781631491726: Sentenced to Life: Poems

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  1631491725 ISBN 13:  9781631491726
Publisher: Liveright, 2017
Hardcover

9781447284048: Sentenced to Life (Macm01 290818)

Picador, 2015
Hardcover

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Book Description Pan MacMillan, United Kingdom, 2016. Paperback. Condition: New. Main Market Ed. Language: English. Brand new Book. In his insightful collection of poems Clive James looks back over an extraordinarily rich life with a clear-eyed and unflinching honesty. There are regrets, but no trace of self-pity in these verses, which - for all their open dealings with death and illness - are primarily a celebration of what is treasurable and memorable in our time here. Again and again, James reminds us that he is not only a poet of effortless wit and lyric accomplishment: he is also an immensely wise one, who delights in using poetic form to bring a razor-sharp focus to his thought. Miraculously, these poems see James writing with his insight and energy not only undiminished but positively charged by his situation: Sentenced to Life represents a career high point from one of the greatest literary intelligences of the age.His other poetry collections include Collected Poems, Angels Over Elsinore and Injury Time. Seller Inventory # AA79781447284055

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