The Drowned Book

Sean O'Brien

2008 Winner

T. S. Eliot Prize

2007 Winner

Forward Prize for Poetry Best Collection

18 June 2015
96 pages


With an introduction by Helen Dunmore

Come for a walk down the river road,
For though you're all a long time dead
The waters part to let us pass

The way we'd go on summer nights
In the times we were children
And thought we were lovers.

The Drowned Book is a work of memory, commemoration and loss, dominated by elegies for those the author has loved and admired. Sean O'Brien's exquisite collection is powerfully affecting, sad and often deeply funny; but it is also a dramatically compelling book - disquieting, even - and full of warnings. As the book unfolds, O'Brien's verse occupies an increasingly dark, subterranean territory - where the waters are rising, threatening to overwhelm and ruin the world above.

Winner of both the T. S. Eliot and Forward prizes, The Drowned Book is an extraordinary collection, a classic from one of the leading poets of our time.

O'Brien's talent extends far beyond description . . . powerful, resonant and thought-provoking
It's almost as though he's seeing into a kind of pool in which the past is there, held in a sort of suspension . . . exhilarating