John Montague The Great Bell

ISBN 13: 9781910392058

The Great Bell

9781910392058: The Great Bell

John Montague writes: 'Younger writers need older ones to look up to; or at least I did, lacking a father in the ordinary sense. And pilgrimages of that imaginative kind give meaning to one's reading and travel. For years, I would call to see the great poet and artist David Jones (1895-1974) in London, first in his dugout; then in hospital and finally in the Calvary Nursing Home. I loved his detailed gentle mind, so different from the tactical ferocity of Hugh MacDiarmid, another Celtic master I was fond of. Our link was Rene Hague, a neighbour from East Cork, an old china of David Jones. He was married to a daughter of Eric Gill, and their Shanagarry home was a delicious port of call: the Greek and Latin calligraphy on the walls, the home brew and home-made bread. I would bring news of them to David; then we would move to more general considerations: Ireland, Wales, the world and its gods (Christian and otherwise). Much of our conversation I committed to memory, but when I was especially moved I took notes, as discreetly as I could. Like many writers, his speech was rhythmic, a kind of poetry in the rough; so that the cantilevered structure of the cantos in The Great Bell follows the cadences of our exchanges.'

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About the Author:

Born in the United States, brought up in Northern Ireland, educated in Dublin and at Yale and the Iowa Writers Workshop, John Montague is a poet of international as well as Irish dimensions. His epic The Rough Field (1972) is the seminal poem on the Irish Troubles, but he is also an acclaimed love poet. Montague has lived in Ireland, the United States and France. He was appointed the first Ireland Professor of Poetry in 1998, and holds Honorary Doctorates from five universities, including the Sorbonne. Recently he was made a Chevalier de la legion d'honneur. His New Collected Poems appeared in 2012.

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