Ian Duhig’s The Speed of Dark is structured around his astonishing reworking of the text of Le Roman de Fauvel, a medieval text that railed against the corruption of the 12th-century French court and church. In Duhig’s hands, however, the tale of the power-mad horse-king Fauvel gains a terrifying and almost prophetic contemporary relevance, and is identified with more recent crusades, crazed ambitions and insatiable greeds. Elsewhere Duhig’s many admirers will be delighted by his new ballads and elegies, his erudite high jinks and his low gags – with which he builds on the new imaginative territory he staked out in The Lammas Hireling to such universal acclaim.
The Speed of Dark again shows Duhig as one the most capacious and brilliant minds in contemporary poetry. ‘The most original poet of his generation’ Carol Ann Duffy, Guardian ‘His poetry is learned, rude, elegant, sly and funny, mixing gilded images, belly-laughs and esoteric lore about language (including Irish), art, history, politics and children’s word-games’ Ruth Padel, Independent on Sunday ‘Duhig telescopes topical allusions, scholarly references and coarse humour into tightly-shaped, surreal poems which burst open with explosive moral force’ Alan Brownjohn, Sunday Times
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