Harry Clifton

Portobello Sonnets

Harry Clifton

Publication Date : 23 Mar 2017

ISBN: 9781780373478

Pages: 65
Size :216 x 138mm
Rights: World

Portobello, the district in Dublin where the Irish poet Harry Clifton lives, is a microcosm of a changing, cosmopolitan Ireland. These sonnets, written on his return from sixteen years in continental Europe, are at once a celebration of place, a coming to terms with age and a rediscovering of the universal in the local.

Harry Clifton has published seven other books of poetry, most recently The Holding Centre: Selected Poems 1974-2004 (2014) and The Winter Sleep of Captain Lemass (2012) from Bloodaxe, and Secular Eden: Paris Notebooks 1994-2004 (2007), winner of the Irish Times / Poetry Now Award, from Wake Forest University Press in the US. His other books include On the Spine of Italy (1999), his prose study of an Abruzzese mountain community, and Berkeley’s Telephone (2007), a collection of short fiction.

‘Clifton’s civilised appreciation of the cosmopolitan fluidity of his chosen place is matched by the fluency of these sonnets… Clifton’s is a sophisticated and humanistic imagination, alert to the saving human detail and at some level always in search of the bigger picture. His work is ridden by time and the sense that there is nothing new under the sun except the capacity for seeing the world afresh.’ – Sean O’Brien, The Guardian [on Portobello Sonnets]

‘In Harry Clifton’s magisterial Portobello Sonnets (Bloodaxe Books), the everyday life of Portobello is seen in the light of his unflagging poetic quest. It is heartening to see the poet striking out, undaunted, into new imaginative territory.’ - Michael O’Loughlin, The Irish Times (Books of the Year)

‘Some will be surprised by the passion and intensity with which Harry Clifton embraces the local in this often astonishing, accomplished and sometimes virtuoso sequence of 35 sonnets... Portobello Sonnets chronicles Clifton’s return to Dublin, a journey from experience into innocence.’ – Michael O’Loughlin, The Irish Times

‘These thirty-five sonnets from 2004-05, running in their narrow grooves, remain a remarkable achievement, and they also show him firmly claiming the poet’s privilege of remaining on the edge… his voice in Portobello Sonnets claims a poetic authority as willed, as unambiguous, as James Clarence Mangan’s.’ - Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Dublin Review of Books

‘This beautifully achieved cycle, which yields more and more with every reading, ends at the canal in Rialto, with Christ, Kavanagh, and then Ulysses.’ – Nell Regan, Poetry Ireland Review

'Portobello Sonnets is a thoughtful collection, a potent reminder in its understated way that poetry often thinks biggest and best when it seems to think small.' - Andrew Hadfield, PN Review


Harry Clifton reads his poem ‘A Son! A Son!’ from his Bloodaxe collection The Winter Sleep of Captain Lemass:



BOOKS BY Harry Clifton

The Holding Centre

Harry Clifton

The Holding Centre

Selected Poems 1974-2004

Publication Date : 27 Feb 2014

The Winter Sleep of Captain Lemass

Harry Clifton

The Winter Sleep of Captain Lemass

Publication Date : 24 May 2012


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Harry Clifton interviewed on RTE Radio 1's Arena, 17 March 2017

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