Join Carcanet for their final online book launch of the year: the Collected Poems of Manchester-born writer Anthony Burgess. We’re not sure how many of these events the Manchester-based publishing house has now hosted, but it’s certainly been a busy old time since the lockdown portcullis fell on our live literature outings and their usual programme transferred to Zoom.
Says the blurb about this new tome of Anthony Burgess’s Collected Poems: “His flair for words, formal discipline, experimentalism, and fondness for variousness mark it on every page.”
What’s interesting is how this has also opened up an unusual opportunity – it seems that it’s not impossible to launch a book posthumously, something that might, perhaps, not work as well in real life, as it were. Carcanet’s online activity programme included, in November, the most recent collection from Irish poet Eavan Boland, who died in April, so her poems were read by the likes of writer Colm Tóibín and discussed by academics and experts of Irish literature. The event tonight marks the launch of Anthony Burgess’s Collected Poems – and as Harpurhey’s most famous son Burgess died 27 years ago, in November 1993, his work will be read by author and Carcanet poet Rachel Mann.
The new collection was edited by Jonathan Mann, a teacher, editor, researcher, poet and musician – and an expert on Burgess’s work. He will be discussing the new edition with another Burgess expert, Andrew Biswell, who is a biographer of Burgess and the author of The Real Life of Anthony Burgess. He is also the director of the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, based in Manchester and welcoming, virtually, Richard Greene on 3 December to give The Anthony Burgess Lecture – he’ll be talking about Russian Roulette, his new biography of Graham Greene, which has been described as “stunning” and “superb”. (See the IABF website for more on that one.)
Born John Anthony Burgess Wilson in 1917, the most famous book in Anthony Burgess’s oeuvre is undoubtedly A Clockwork Orange, although he published over 50 books and thousands of essays. Published in 1962 and adapted into a controversial film by Stanley Kubrick in 1971 (which the director subsequently himself banned in the UK), the novel, with its own language Nadsat, illustrates Burgess’s interest in linguistic innovations, strict formal devices and experimentation – all also to be found in his poetry. Says the blurb about this new tome of Anthony Burgess’s Collected Poems: “His flair for words, formal discipline, experimentalism, and fondness for variousness mark it on every page.”
As is usual for Carcanet online events, extracts of the text will be shown during the reading so that audience members can read along, and they will also have the opportunity to put forward their own questions. Registration for this online event is £2, later redeemable against the cost of the book, available direct from Carcanet at a special price – attendees will receive the discount code and details of how to order during and after the event. Please note that there is a limited number of places for the reading, so do book early to avoid disappointment.