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After Shakespeare

After Shakespeare

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Shakespeare and Newcastle-upon-Tyne collide with dazzingly original results in this sequence of fifty-six poems inspired by many of the dramatist's plays. Graham Desmond allows the rough energy of this Northern city to pulse through the book as many aspects of contemporary and predominantly low-life Geordie experience are viewed through a wide range of Shakespeare's characters. Familiar figures from the plays reappear in bizarre guises so that these punchy, provocative and often humorous poems offer an unexpected and disturbing experience.

From reviews of Desmond Graham's Not Falling (Seren, 1999) in which eight of the After Shakespeare poems first appeared:

A remarkable evocation of a neighbourhood sinking into decay, yet peopled by odd, forgotten lives; outsiders, lovers and loners, washed up seamen and retired policemen, seen in the light of Shakespearean prototypes. - NEW WELSH REVIEW

A gallery of urban low-life cleverly linked to Shakespearean analogues. Thus an old Frank Zappa fan and biker turned tattoo artist is an inner-city Prospero ... and a painter of Hell's Angels crash helmets is Ferdinand, transforming reality in unpromising circumstances into art and exhibiting 'a love of light where you would least expect to find it'. Graham, a poet who notices such things, has a way of finding those fugitive rays of light. - Nicholas Murray, POETRY WALES

Graham comes at cultural classics from unexpected angles ... Macbeth runs a protection racket, a thug with a Rolls and a mobile phone, and Coriolanus is a mafioso gangster ... the breadth of reference enables him to embrace playfulness and a sense of poignancy and affection. - Claire Powell, PLANET

Desmond Graham lives in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where he is Professor of Poetry at the University of Newcastle. In addition to his collections of poetry he has written a biography of Keith Douglas, a critical study of the poets of the First World War, The Truth of War, co-translated the work of the Polish poet Anna Kamienska, Two Darknesses, and edited Poetry of the Second World War: An International Anthology.

His collection After Shakespeare has been translated into Polish in 2002 and the Milena poems have been the subject of a jazz suite, first performed in Arnhem in 2003.

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