Released on 07 September 2007.

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The Drowned Book

3.54 based on 39 ratings & 3 reviews on

2008 Winner

T. S. Eliot Prize

2007 Winner

Forward Prize for Poetry Best Collection


Many of the poems in Sean O’Brien’s new collection take their emotional tenor and imaginative cue from his acclaimed translation of Dante’s Inferno, and occupy a dark, flooded, subterranean world, as dramatically compelling as it is disquieting. Circumstances have compelled O’Brien to return repeatedly to the elegiac form, and The Drowned Book contains a number of powerfully moving poems written in memory of fellow poets and artists. The Drowned Book again shows O’Brien a master of the authoritative line, and underscores his pre-eminence among contemporary English poets.

Praise for Sean O’Brien’s verse translation of Dante’s Inferno:

‘Compelling, with a steady incandescence to the language’ Independent

‘All life is written in Dante’s burning pages, and Sean O’Brien is to be congratulated on his expert rehabilitation of a classic’ Spectator

‘Combines urgent readability with a muscular forcefulness’ The Economist

In the media

O'Brien's talent extends far beyond description . . . powerful, resonant and thought-provoking