Reviews

  • "There are lines in All One Breath for instance, that brand themselves into your brain with the fire of painful recognition. And yet it is also part of his genius to be ever alert to beauty, too."

    Sebastian Barry, New Statesman, Book of the Year
  • "One of the most charged collections I have read in a long time. [Burnside's] writing is earthed and ethereal – there is a rare equilibrium to it... Breathtaking."

    Kate Kellaway, Observer
  • "John Burnside is a genius... He is constantly live to alternative possibilities and versions of himself, as close yet unreachable as his own shadow. His responses to the world are so raw, it's as if he's missing a skin – or perhaps the rest of us have grown hides to make life manageable."

    Maggie Fergusson, Intelligent Life
  • "Rare and memorable beauty... For all the melancholy of this collection, Burnside is not a nihilist; the glory of these poems shows us that."

    Sarah Crown, Guardian
  • "Memory and self-reflection merge into elegy... Burnside is a master of the final clinching line... Across the length of whole poems and the whole book there is great wisdom about how people learn to get along with family and with their own past selves, "the backrooms of the heart"; about the limits of self and body; and about how human beings have mistaken and abused the non-human."

    Matthew Sperling, New Statesman
  • "[Burnside] has a mysterious yet philosophical way of coming at us slant, using beautiful, light-touch descriptions of the material world."

    Fiona Sampson, Independent
  • "Too often poets are portrayed as meek and mild, emollients in an age scarred by abrasiveness. John Burnside, it is a pleasure to report, is not of that genus... There is a terrible beauty to Burnside's anger."

    Alan Taylor, Herald
  • "It is a rare thing for a poet to step out of the pack and move beyond mere critical appreciation into something like the mainstream; but a new John Burnside will now fly out of the shops with unbard-like haste."

    Belfast Telegraph
  • "Contemporary lyric poetry is seldom better."

    Totally Dublin