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About the book
  • Published: 15 April 2015
  • ISBN: 9781846559716
  • Imprint: Harvill Secker
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 176
  • RRP: $27.99

The Days of Surprise




The Irish Number 1 bestseller. A new collection from one of Ireland's best, and best-loved, poets.

WINNER OF THE LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT IRISH BOOK AWARD 2014

Paul Durcan never imagined he would be clasped by a woman again, but life is full of surprises! After all, would it surprise you to learn that at the US Ambassador’s Residence in Dublin his libido almost destroyed the Peace Process? There is a new Pope, too, a ‘man of constant surprise’, although in St Peter’s Square Durcan encounters a monk wholly lacking in the Holy Spirit.

Elsewhere he muses upon the ‘pre-crucifixion scenario’ of being prepared for surgery, the gift of a malacca cane, the joy of retail therapy, the horror that is wheel-clamping, the ‘starry mystique’ of the weather forecaster Jean Byrne, suicide, bird-watching, stammering, art, Mayo, New York City, New Zealand, murder in Syria and the commemoration of 1916. Perhaps the greatest surprise is the voice of the late Seamus Heaney coming down his chimney: ‘Are you all right down there, Poet Durcan?’ The Days of Surprise is proof that the great poet of contemporary Ireland is in fine fettle.

  • Pub date: 15 April 2015
  • ISBN: 9781846559716
  • Imprint: Harvill Secker
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 176
  • RRP: $27.99

About the Author

Paul Durcan

Paul Durcan was born in Dublin in 1944. His first book, Endsville (1967), has been followed by more than twenty others, including The Berlin Wall Café (a Poetry Book Society Choice in 1985), Daddy, Daddy (winner of the Whitbread Award for Poetry in 1990), Crazy About Women (1991), A Snail in My Prime: New and Selected Poems (1993), Give Me Your Hand (1994), Greetings to Our Friends in Brazil (1999), The Art of Life (2004), The Laughter of Mothers (2007), Life is a Dream: 40 Years Reading Poems 1967–2007 (2009), Praise in Which I Live and Move and Have My Being (2012), and The Days of Surprise (2015). In 2001 Paul Durcan received a Cholmondeley Award. He was Ireland Professor of Poetry from 2004 to 2007. He was conferred with a DLitt by Trinity College Dublin in 2009 and by University College Dublin in 2011. In 2014 he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Irish Book Award. He is a member of Aosdána.

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Praise for The Days of Surprise

“In The Days of Surprise the reader is continually, refreshingly, entertainingly, disturbingly surprised and, more importantly, nourished”

Niall MacMonagle, Irish Independent

“A new Durcan poetry book is always a joy. This one is no exception”

Mayo News

“Scrupulously paced poems of the life, times and beliefs of this emotionally intense yet intellectually rewarding writer are inscribed touchstones”

Hayden Murphy, Herald


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