Nefertiti in the Flak Tower
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Nefertiti in the Flak Tower : Poems

By (author) Clive James

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Clive James's renown as an internationally celebrated poet continues to expand, and there is no stronger evidence for this than Nefertiti in the Flak Tower, a collection "steeped in the lessons of Philip Larkin and W.B. Yeats" (London Times). Here, his polymathic learning and technical virtuosity are worn more lightly than ever; the effect is to produce a deep sense of trust into which the reader gratefully sinks, knowing they are in the presence of a master. The most obvious token of that mastery is the book's breathtaking range of theme: there are moving elegies, a meditation on the later Yeats, a Hollywood Iliad, and odes to rare orchids, wartime typewriters, and sharks-as well as a poem on the fate of Queen Nefertiti in Nazi Germany. Despite the dizzying variety, James's poetic intention becomes increasingly clear: what marks this new collection is his intensified concentration on the individual poem as a self-contained universe. Poetry is a practice he compares (in "Numismatics") to striking new coin, and Nefertiti in the Flak Tower is a treasure chest of one-off marvels, with each poem a twin-sided, perfect human balance of the unashamedly joyous and the deadly serious, "whose play of light pays tribute to the dark."

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  • Hardback | 96 pages
  • 144.78 x 213.36 x 10.16mm | 249.47g
  • 19 Nov 2013
  • WW Norton & Co
  • New York
  • English
  • 0871407116
  • 9780871407115
  • 566,703

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Author Information

Born in Australia, Clive James lives in Cambridge, England. He is the author of Unreliable Memoirs; a volume of selected poems, Opal Sunset; the best-selling Cultural Amnesia; and the translator of The Divine Comedy by Dante. He has written for the New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic. He is an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) and a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).

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Review quote

"Mr. James is a canny poet as well as a critic and memoirist, and this elegiac book finds him confronting illness and old age with vigor and salty wit. When he writes about a dead friend, 'Your poems were the condensation trails/Of a bright mind's steady rush of soaring power,' he could be speaking of this very volume." -- Dwight Garner

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