Winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize The body is the `bad machine' of George
Szirtes' latest book of poems. The sudden death of his elderly father and
of his younger friend, the poet Michael Murphy, remind him how machines -
sources of energy and delight in their prime - go so easily wrong; and that
change in the body is a signal for moving on. But language too is a body.
Here, politics, assimilation, desire, creatureliness and the pleasure and
loss of the body, mingle in various attenuated forms such as lexicon,
canzone, acrostics, mirror poems, postcards, and a series of `minimenta'
after Anselm Kiefer whose love of history as rubble and monument haunts
this collection. George Szirtes is one of our most inventive - and
constantly reinventing - poets, and Bad Machine shows him developing new
themes and new ways of writing in poems which stretch the possibilities of
form and question language and its mastery. `A brilliantly virtuosic
collection of deeply felt poems concerned with the personal impact of the
dislocations and betrayals of history. The judges were impressed by the
unusual degree of formal pressure exerted by Szirtes on his themes of
memory and the impossibility of forgetting' - Douglas Dunn, on Reel, winner
of the T.S. Eliot Prize. `A major contribution to post-war
literature...Using a painter-like collage of images to retrieve lost times,
lives, cities and betrayed hopes, Szirtes weaves his personal and
historical themes into work of profound psychological complexity' - Anne
Stevenson, Poetry Review. `Any new collection from George Szirtes will
treat its readers to a unique poetic combination: immense versatility and
virtuosity when it comes to form, but also a tireless sympathy that dwells
clear-sightedly on shocks, traumas and hard-won renewals from a century of
migration and massacre' - Boyd Tonkin, Independent

George Szirtes—Bad Machine

  • 9781852249571