The Man in the White Suit

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Overview

Here is an exiled poet in an English seaside asylum, a winter night spent in the spooky penthouse suite of Ceausescu's vanished daughter, and a scientist trying to calculate the heart's square root. Londoner Nick Drake's debut collection portrays and celebrates a richly varied cast of characters. "He deserves careful attention as one of the poets likeliest to maintain England's ever-transshifting but still splendid poetic tradition."—Harvard Review

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Overview

Here is an exiled poet in an English seaside asylum, a winter night spent in the spooky penthouse suite of Ceausescu's vanished daughter, and a scientist trying to calculate the heart's square root. Londoner Nick Drake's debut collection portrays and celebrates a richly varied cast of characters. "He deserves careful attention as one of the poets likeliest to maintain England's ever-transshifting but still splendid poetic tradition."—Harvard Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781852244880
  • Publisher: Bloodaxe Books
  • Publication date: 2/21/2000
  • Pages: 64
  • Product dimensions: 5.42 (w) x 8.56 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Table of Contents

The Hunt by Night 11
Cigarettes for Mr Blatny 12
The Disappearing City 13
To the Partisan Folk Dance Ensemble of Czechoslovakia 14
Eureka 16
Heaven 17
The Story Box 18
Static 20
Small Hours 21
Ceausescu's Daughter's Bedroom 22
Mystery Train 24
The Juke Box 25
The Man in the White Suit 26
Icons 28
Chocolate and Salt 30
The General at the Bus Stop 31
Last Train 32
North 33
The Very Rich Hours 34
Art and Mystery 36
The Cure 38
Dunes 39
Ice Cream 40
The Single Shoes of Spain 41
Ausonius and Paulinus 42
Dr Johnson's Bicycle 44
Six Studies of Anna Vondracek 46
The Space Race 48
In Memory of Vincent Cox 50
The Angel of History 54
The Ghost Train 56
A Cookham Sunday 57
The Foley Artist 59
Notes 63
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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2001

    A trip to Europe--cheap

    Americans should know that Bloodaxe is the dominant force in serious British poetry. So Bloodaxe Book¿s publication of Nick Drake¿s first major collection, The Man in the White Suit, can give us yanks a sense of what¿s out there in British verse now. It¿s hard to resist comparisons between Drake¿s poems and our American oeuvre, so why resist? His poems don¿t follow the typical American improvisational free-verse or formal free-verse styles. He takes the latter and ups the formal stakes, going for the rhyme and apparent, though seldom regulated meter, and using alliteration and assonance with confidence. His stanzas make sense as units, and the line breaks are free from enjambment and abruption. Stylistically like Ransom and Penn Warren, a Fugitive gentile elegance is in these poems. But the themes in this book seldom find their home in English settings. They take place in Continental Europe: a conflation of pop culture iconography with Elvis and Dracula on a ¿Mystery Train¿ to Transylvania, and a haunting musing on power¿s closest victim¿s in ¿Ceausescu¿s Daughter¿s Bedroom¿. These aren¿t the Left Bank and Rome poems of American poetry chic. These are poems of a real Europe, ¿Europe¿s concrete jigsaw, time- and war-zones.¿ And Jigsaw puzzle is what we have in this book, with no customary delineations of parts or sections. Each poem, is set in a different place and offered by a different speaker¿again in contrast to the contemporary American desire for thematic unity as seen in McCombs Ultima Thule and Jordan¿s Carolina Ghost Woods, two finalists for the Times Book Critics¿ Circle prize. Each poem in The Man in the White Suit is a piece of an elusive bigger something, hard at first to see when the box is just opened and spilled across our imagination¿s table. But if we remember the picture on the cover, the poet promises we¿ll see it soon enough. And most will.

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