The Beautiful Librarians

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Each poem in Sean O'Brien's superb new collection opens on a wholly different room, vista or landscape, each drawn with the poet's increasingly refined sense of tone, history and rhetorical assurance. The Beautiful Librarians is a stock-taking of sorts, and a celebration of those unsung but central figures in our culture, often overlooked by both capital and official account. Here we find infantrymen, wrestlers, old lushes in the hotel bar - but none more heroic than the librarians of the title, those silent and silencing guardians of literature and knowledge who, the poet reminds us, also had lives of their own to be celebrated. Elsewhere we find a 12-bar blues sung by Ovid, a hymn to a grey rose, a writing course from hell, and a very French exercise in waiting. A book of terrific variety of theme and form, The Beautiful Librarians is another bravura performance from the most garlanded English poet of his generation.

About Sean O'Brien

Sean O’Brien has written seven collections of poetry. The Drowned Book (2007) won the Forward and T. S. Eliot prizes. Cousin Coat: Selected Poems 1976–2001 appeared in 2002. His other work includes the book of essays The Deregulated Muse (1998), the verse plays The Birds (2002) and Keepers of the Flame (2003) and a verse translation of Dante’s Inferno (2006). In 2008 his collection of short stories, The Silence Room, was published, followed in 2009 by his novel Afterlife. He is Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University.

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Books by Sean O'Brien

Afterlife
Afterlife
Once Again Assembled Here
Once Again Assembled Here
The Drowned Book
The Drowned Book
Collected Poems
Collected Poems
Cousin Coat
Cousin Coat
November
November
Downriver
Downriver