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The first book in eight years from ‘the bard of the bawdy’ Shortlisted for the 2015 Costa Poetry Prize

Shortlisted for the 2015 Costa Poetry Prize

Like Neil Rollinson’s earlier books, Talking Dead is a refreshment of the senses: lifting the lid on the human condition in a heartfelt celebration of the act of being, whether in moments of love or mortality, sex or feasting.

In the central sequence of the book – a meditation on the space between life and death – the dead speak of their final earthly moments with a liberating sense of fascination, and a luminous awe. Elsewhere we enjoy al fresco sex, astronomy via many pints in the Cat and Fiddle, and the deliverance of an Indian monsoon after weeks of thirst and drought. In ‘Christmas in Andalucia’ two lovers Skype each other achingly across hundreds of miles – ‘I am full of loss and longing,’ the poet says, ‘the heart is hewn from elm and oak and mistletoe.’

As provocative, sensual and subversive as ever, these poems seek and find the numinous in the everyday: some element of ritual or wonder that transforms experience. Although the spectre of darkness is never far away, it is the spirit of pleasure that endures, and we discover to our delight, as D. H. Lawrence did, that the Dionysian finally prevails over the Apollonian.

Reviews

A hugely accessible book of fundamentally human poems.

Jade Craddock, Nudge

A hugely accessible book of fundamentally human poems.

Jade Craddock, Nudge

Poems of extraordinary delicacy and transcendence.

Suzi Feay, Independent on Sunday

As lucid and direct as anything being written today… Every word is subordinated to its purpose: not the display but a mastery of the writing self… Rollinson has an impeccable ear.

Fiona Sampson, New Statesman

Talking Dead is an unusual and interesting collection of poems… Rollinson does it with a wry grit, honest earthiness and often with quite the wicked sense of humour. The language can be as fruity as the subject matter, some poems are sensual and some shocking, together they form a quite eclectic mix. I laughed and I gasped as I read through. One of the things that I most enjoyed about the collection was how down to earth it was. Whilst Rollinson’s poetry is vivid, lyrical and beautiful it isn’t flowery.

Simon Savidge, Savidge Reads

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback

    9780224097291

    October 15, 2015

    Jonathan Cape

    64 pages

    RRP $24.99

    Online retailers

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    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781448138869

    October 1, 2015

    Vintage Digital

    64 pages

    Online retailers

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Also by Neil Rollinson

Demolition
Spanish Fly

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Unreconciled
The Abandoned Settlements
The Bone Flowers
A Sackful of Limericks
Odes
Selected Poems
Blue Laws
Of Love and Desire
Made In Detroit
Deep Lane
Elegy For A Broken Machine
The Days of Surprise
Human Work