Blood Feather

Blood Feather

‘He writes with Proustian élan and Nabokovian delight’ John Banville


In this intimate, confiding poetry collection, McGuinness shows how identity is layered, permeable, always in motion - how we are always actor and audience to ourselves

'This is McGuinness's best collection by far, and stands out from the crowd'


In Blood Feather, a book of doubling and displacement, we see time in a new way: the past, personal and collective, lingering as an ever-present ghost - while lost beyond recall.

The first section, 'Squeeze the Day' - a series of deeply moving poems about the author's mother, displaced between languages - investigates her illness and death; how being bilingual is like having a double, a second self; how each self haunts the other. 'The Noises Things Make When They Leave' elegises today's post-industrial landscapes, their people and professions: sidelined by literature, bypassed by globalisation. The final sequence, 'After the Flood', links the book's themes, seeking a way of seeing things for the first time and the last time simultaneously. Exploring the gaps between languages and between our selves in language, Patrick McGuinness dreams of a new tense in which the world's losses are redeemed:

It's the anniversary of my mother's death,
and it's my mother's birthday -
the day she short-circuited the tenses,
made the current flow both ways.

A clear-sighted, intimate new poetry collection from the prizewinning author of Other People's Countries and Throw me to the Wolves.


  • This is McGuinness's best collection by far, and stands out from the crowd
    Sunday Times

About the author

Patrick McGuinness

Patrick McGuinness is the author of two previous books of poetry, two novels, The Last Hundred Days and Throw Me to the Wolves, and a non-fiction book about place, time and memory, and his mother's small Belgian border town of Bouillon - Other People's Countries - which was shortlisted for the PEN Ackerley Prize and the James Tait Black Prize, won the Wales Book of the Year, and the Duff Cooper Prize. He is Professor of French and Comparative Literature at St Anne's College, Oxford.
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