Maureen Duffy’s new collection centres on environments – human, insect and animal – some experienced personally, some observed, some imagined. Though strictly contemporary in her concerns, she reaches back in her poetry to a vividly remembered childhood, and beyond that in her imagination to cultural figures of the past – John Donne, Edward Elgar, Toulouse Lautrec, Ralph Vaughan Williams – bringing them lucidly and memorably to life. With their hallmark of compassion and fair play, Duffy’s poems reflect her lifelong support for progressive social and political movements; they also display a beautiful lyricism and technical skill that grows out of her love of the classical world and Old and Mediaeval English.
As so often in her work, the city past and present provides the backdrop to her real and imagined life-stories: of love and loss, forebears and friends, the humorous and sometimes painful experiences of old age.
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