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Adult fiction: Poetry

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The Long Take

Author: Robin Robertson

Publisher: Picador (2018)

A noir narrative written with the intensity and power of poetry, The Long Take is one of the most remarkable – and unclassifiable – books of recent years. Walker is a D-Day veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder; he can’t return home to rural Nova Scotia, and looks instead to the city for freedom, anonymity and repair. As he moves from New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco we witness a crucial period of fracture in American history, one that also allowed noir to flourish. The Dream had gone sour but – as those dark, classic movies made clear – the country needed outsiders to study and dramatise its new anxieties. While Walker tries to piece his life together, America is beginning to come apart: deeply paranoid, doubting its own certainties, riven by social and racial division, spiralling corruption and the collapse of the inner cities. The Long Take is about a good man, brutalised by war, haunted by violence and apparently doomed to return to it – yet resolved to find kindness again, in the world and in himself. Robin Robertson's The Long Take is a work of thrilling originality.

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The Narrow Road To The Deep North And Other Travel Sketches

Author: Basho

Publisher: Penguin Books (1966)

'It was with awe That I beheld Fresh leaves, green leaves, Bright in the sun9 In his perfectly crafted haiku poems, Basho described the natural world with great simplicity and delicacy of feeling. When he composed The Narrow Road to the Deep Northi, he was an ardent student of Zen Buddhism, setting off on a series of travels designed to strip away the trappings of the material world and bring spiritual enlightenment. He wrote of the seasons changing, of the smell of the rain, the brightness of the moon and the beauty of the waterfall, through which he sensed the mysteries of the universe. These seventeenth-century travel writings not only chronicle Basho's perilous journeys through Japan, buttheyalso capture his vision of eternity in the transient world around him. In his lucid translation Nobuyuki Yuasa captures the lyrical qualities of Basho's poetry and prose by using the natural rhythms and language of contemporary speech. In his introduction, he examines the development of the haibun style in which poetry and prose stand side by side. This edition also includes maps and notes on the texts. Translated with an introduction by NOBUYUKI YUASA

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The Nun's Priest's Tale

Author: Geoffrey Chaucer

Publisher:

The Nun's Priest's Tale is the story of a cockerel who forsees his own death in a dream, but is told by his favourite wife that he has indigestion. He recalls the dreams of prophets of old and is reassured and ready to face the day. A Modern English rendering of the original poem.

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The Poems Of Norman MacCaig

Author: Norman MacCaig

Publisher: Polygon (2009)

By the time of his death in January 1996, Norman MacCaig was known widely as the grand old man of Scottish poetry, honoured by an OBE and the Queen's Medal for Poetry. This book is the third edition of 'MacCaig's Collected Poems' and is edited by his son Ewen McCaig. With 778 poems, 100 of them previously unpublished, this is a remarkable collection.

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The Poetical Works Of John Milton

Author: John Milton

Publisher:

Reginald in Russia is the title story in a collection of fifteen witty and satirical stories, sketches and one "playlet" by that master of the short story H. H. Munro, better Known as Saki.

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The Portrait Of Mr W. H.

Author: Oscar Wilde

Part of a series: Penguin 60s Classics

Publisher: Penguin Group (1995)

Two examples of Wilde’s literary brilliance. In ‘The Portrait of Mr W. H.’ Oscar Wilde tells the intriguing and tragic story of a young man’s quest to prove the identity of ‘the onlie Begetter’ of Shakespeare’s Sonnets. ‘The Ballad of Reading Gaol’, which was Wilde’s last work, was written as a result of his imprisonment after losing a libel case against the Marquess of Queensbury in 1895.

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The Princess

Author: Alfred Lord Tennyson

Publisher:

The Princess is a serio-comic blank verse narrative poem, written by Alfred Tennyson, published in 1847. Tennyson was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom from 1850 to 1892 and remains one of the most popular English poets. The poem tells the story of an heroic princess who forswears the world of men and founds a women's university where men are forbidden to enter. The prince to whom she was betrothed in infancy enters the university with two friends, disguised as women students. They are discovered and flee, but eventually they fight a battle for the princess's hand. They lose and are wounded, but the women nurse the men back to health. Eventually the princess returns the prince's love.

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The Raven

Author: Edgar Allan Poe

Publisher:

The Raven: Tales and Poems is a landmark new anthology of Poe's work, which defied convention, shocked readers, and confounded critics. This selection of Poe's writings demonstrates the astonishing power and imagination with which he probed the darkest corners of the human mind. 'The Fall of the House of Usher' describes the final hours of a family tormented by tragedy and the legacy of the past. In 'The Tell Tale Heart,' a murderer's insane delusions threaten to betray him, while stories such as 'The Pit and the Pendulum' and 'The Cask of Amontillado' explore extreme states of decadence, fear and hate. The title narrative poem, maybe Poe's most famous work, follows a man's terrifying descent into madness after the loss of a lover.

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The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner

Author: Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Publisher:

Coleridge was one of the key poets of the Romantic period, and friend and collaborator of William Wordsworth. "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" is one of his best-known poems.

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The River In The Sky

Author: Clive James

Publisher: Picador (2018)

Clive James has been close to death for several years, and he has written about the experience in a series of deeply moving poems. Now, at the opening of ‘The River in the Sky’, a book-length poem, we find James in ill health but high spirits. Although his body traps him in his Cambridge house, his mind is free to roam. ‘The River in the Sky’ takes us on a grand tour of ‘the fragile treasures of his life’. Animated by powerful recollections, James presents a flowing stream of vivid images. He moves from emotionally resonant personal moments, such as listening to jazz records with his future wife, to unforgettable encounters with all kinds of culture: Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony sits alongside ‘YouTube’s vast cosmopolis’. As ever with James, he shares his passions with enormous generosity, making brilliant and original connections, and fearlessly tackling the biggest questions: the meaning of life and how to live it. In the end, what emerges from this autobiographical epic is a soaring work of exceptional depth and overwhelming feeling, a new marvel for the modern age.

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