Skip to content

The Poets' Wives
by David Park

RRP €24.10

The Poets' Wives
by Author Name David Park

Book details for title
List Price:24.10
Format: Hardback, 234 x 153mm, 304pp
Publication date: 27 Feb 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN-13: 9781408846469


Three women, each destined to play the role of a poet's wife: Catherine Blake, the wife of William Blake - a poet, painter and engraver who struggles for recognition in a society that dismisses him as a madman; Nadezhda Mandelstam, wife of Russian poet Osip Mandelstam, whose poetry costs him his life under Stalin's terror; and the wife of a fictional contemporary Irish poet, who looks back on her marriage during the days after her husband's death as she seeks to fulfil his final wish. Set across continents and centuries, and in very different circumstances, these three women confront the contradictions between art and life, contemplate their emotional and physical sacrifices for another's creativity, and struggle with infidelities that involve not only the flesh, but ultimately poetry itself. They find themselves custodians of their husbands' work, work that has been woven with love's intimacies and which has shaped their own lives in the most unexpected of ways. Deeply insightful and beautifully wrought, The Poets' Wives is David Park at his best - a novelist whose work has the power to bring the hidden from the shadows, into a delicate and shimmering light.


He writes prose of gravity and grace ... Line for line, it is hard to think of a more skilful contemporary Irish novelist. He shares with John McGahern a refusal of cheap flamboyance, with Dermot Bolger a sense of suppressed fury . There is a Coetzeean accuracy to the writing Joseph O'Connor, Guardian Recent years have seen an explosion of books about wives of famous men ... The Poets' Wives ... Is a fine contribution to this genre ... The Poets' Wives is a marvellous triptych: lyrical, respectful of creativity but also sharply sceptical David Grylls, Sunday Times Sparse, lyrical and yet clear-headed prose leaves no room for false notes, nostalgia or self-serving mythologies. One of the quiet men of Irish writing, he also possesses one of its truest voices and has built up a deeply impressive oeuvre without fuss or pyrotechnics ... infused with the depth of character and emotion that are hallmarks of his work as a novelist of enormous sensitivity -- Dermot Bolger Irish Mail on Sunday Marvellous Sunday Times Must Reads Intriguing and impressive ... With its stylistic felicity ... its concern with integrity and with upholders of humane, and humanistic values, The Poets' Wives displays without ostentation its author's resourcefulness and versatility Patricia Craig, Times Literary Supplement An outstanding novel, written in luminous accessible prose, thoroughly enjoyable and much deeper even than the sum of its excellent parts il s N Dhuibhne, Irish Times Beautifully wrought -- Holly Williams Independent on Sunday Intensely evocative, thought-provoking -- Anita Sethi Observer