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.
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.
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
Abse is still writing – and reading – at his mesmerizing best
Speak, Old Parrot shows that if art and humour will both be overtaken by death, they refuse to yield ground without a struggle. What will survive the endless nothingness is wit and love.
Terry Eagleton, The Lancet