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The stunning new collection from the winner of the Whitbread Poetry Award.

The question of how we live together sits at the heart of this, John Burnside's ninth collection of poetry. Tensions between the need for love and the desire to be alone, between the idea that 'good fences makes good neighbours' and the fact that we must live with one another in order to survive and, most of all, the shifting space between 'self' and 'other' - between solitary experience and the 'real world' - inform THE GOOD NEIGHBOUR from start to finish.
From intimate and sometimes painful explorations of married life to meditations on isolated communities and individuals such as the Mennonites, or the last man to speak a now-extinct Caucasian language, this is a book about intimacy and distance, about love and freedom, that touches upon the basic question of what it is to be individual in a world where there is no such thing as an individual destiny. Crafted with Burnside's customary artistry and confidence, the poems in THE GOOD NEIGHBOUR are rich in intellectual nourishment and originality, full of light and grace and passionate care.


Burnside's poems have the rare power to alter one's perception of the world and of language - a sensory delight with an epiphany on every page.

Judges of the Whitbread Poetry Award

Formats & editions

  • The Good Neighbour
    John Burnside



    February 15, 2005

    Jonathan Cape

    96 pages

    RRP $29.99

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