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A Certain Marvellous Thing

A Certain Marvellous Thing

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In his first collection of poetry since 1984, John Powell Ward breaks new ground. These are edgy, urgent, relevant poems. The new forms are varied, radical and playful. Ward has moved from the pastoral pleasures of his last book, The Clearing towards a new sensibility, one concerned about the state of the world that our children will inherit and interested in the options that language can give us to explore and influence our times.

The book features several elegies such as 'Elegiac' and 'Elegy for the Accidental Dead' - sensitive explorations of our fragile mortality. Other poems are alarmed at the mechanical travel that shrinks the world, the vulnerability of the unprotected, and the poet's own unwilling complicity with it all. Yet a counterpoint spirituality pervades. Old myths and visions survive and a redeeming light shines on unexpected places; through the camera, on the motorway, or on the alphabet itself.

The poems in A Certain Marvellous Thing show a comprehensive intelligence confronting the deep obsessions of modern life, secular, planetary and religious.

"... the book is pervaded by a sense of wonder at the 26 letters of the alphabet, perhaps the most precious, although least vaunted code we possess"
Poetry Review

"In this profoundly moving volume, John Powell Ward addresses the most threatening issues our generation must face - in a voice which combines requiem with brilliant wit and technical virtuosity"
Critical Survey

John Powell Ward was born in Suffolk and educated at the Universities of Toronto, Cambridge and Wales. Editor of Poetry Wales from 1975 to 1980, he is the author of critical works on Wordsworth and R.S. Thomas among others, and editor of the Border Lines series. He has also published several volumes of poetry.