A quidnunc is a gossip, one who is constantly asking, ‘What now?’ “Quidnunc” is a poem in which four individuals are haunted in different ways by what they have not forgotten. And “Quidnunc” is a collection in which, whether recent or distant, personal or cultural, the past is keenly felt. Woods writes with bravura and eloquence in free verse, syllabics and metre; the poems range from the barbaric civility of the classical world to the perplexed certainties of the present.
At the heart of the collection are two dramatic monologues spoken by English writers, Lord Byron at the end of his youth and Sir Osbert Sitwell in old age. Both trace the complex intersections between politics, aesthetics and desire. Constantine Cavafy, Henry James and Marcel Proust, other writers challenged by similar questions, put in an appearance.
In the struggle to come to terms with the formalities of love and the intimacies of aggression, Contingency wrestles with fate, and history fades into enticing rumour.
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