Dannie Abse returns to themes of loss, love, medicine and its moral implications, the nature of creativity, Jewish folk tradition and the passing of time. The poems are observant of the outside world as well as the inner life and emotions but most of all they are a joy to read.
Dannie Abse was for many years a chest specialist in a London teaching hospital. A poet, reviewer and playwright, he has written and edited more than fifteen books of poetry, as well as books about medicine and also fiction. He is the author of Ash on a Young Man's Sleeve and several autobiographical volumes, including Goodbye, Twentieth Century, which was published in 2001 to critical acclaim. He died, at the age of 91, in September 2014.
"What's the best thing about judging the Forward prizes? Free books? Reassessing a poet you hadn't paid enough attention to? Those are good, but the best might be the poems, and odd lines, that stick in your head. They may be from books that didn't even make the shortlist, but they've still made a mark - Dannie Abse's line "Men become mortal when their fathers die" from his collection Speak, Old Parrot, isn't going to leave me any time soon." Guardian Books Blog "The phenomenal Dr Abse still prescribes verbal wit and human warmth, radiant memory and blazing perception, as remedies against a time of life when "all pavements slope uphill". This veteran flyer can still sing and swoop." Independent "Dannie Abse's line "Men become mortal when their fathers die" from his collection Speak, Old Parrot, isn't going to leave me any time soon." -- Sheenagh Pugh Guardian "It's a book packed with both feeling and swagger, a tumbling energy that belies the closing farewell." Literary Review "There is much that could be said about this inspiring collection, and all of it positive. It should be bought, read and re-read." New Welsh Review
Shortlisted for T S Eliot Prize 2013.
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