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Cinderbiter

Celtic Poems
Paperback Book
Publisher: 
Graywolf Press
 | 
July, 2020
ISBN:
9781644450277
In stock now: 
2
$22.00 CAD
Banyen's Description: 

 

Cinderbiter collects tales and poems originally composed and performed centuries ago in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, when notions of history and authorship were indistinguishable from the oral traditions of myth and storytelling. In the spirit of recasting these legends and voices for new audiences, mythologist and storyteller Martin Shaw and poet Tony Hoagland have created extraordinary new versions of these bardic lyrics, folkloric sagas, and heroes’ journeys, as they have never been rendered before.

Tony made a typically unusual suggestion: that I allow him to have a go at turning a traditional story I had been working on into a poem with stanzas. He would take my words and give them a new choreography on the page. The story was called “Cinderbiter,” and his suggestion seems a fine idea. He took the rumpus and arranged it into lines. We liked what we saw, and the wider work you have in your hands began… There’s something of an oral liveliness to the way the lines skip and twist in their stanzas.

In long, shaggy tales of the unlikely ascensions of previously unknown heroes such as Cinderbiter, in the shrouded origin stories of figures such as Arthur and Merlin, and in anonymous flickering lyrics of elegy, praise, and heartbreak, these poems retain at once the rapturous, supernatural imagination of the deep past layered with an austere, devout allegiance to the Christian faith. Shaw and Hoagland's collaboration summons the power within this storehouse of the Celtic mind to arrive at this rare book—distinctive, audacious, and tuned to our time and condition with a convincing resonance.

Poets are scarecrows of words, fiends of divine encounter. They get thoroughly soaked. There’ll be a love affair somewhere along the way, an encounter with a spirit, maybe even the clash of swords. When they sit at table that evening, and the village crowds in, you can be sure they’ll have a story to tell…

 

Great ones, are you safely gathered in?

 

Let wild fawn

           Always be at your bow.

Let your white-bronze rings and broaches

             Glow by the yellow candle.

Let the women

      with the dark river hair

            be your companions.

And I,
with my few wintered logs,

alone and old,

          on a snowy hill

with nothing left

   but my praise.

Publisher’s Description: 

Cinderbiter collects tales and poems originally composed and performed centuries ago in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, when notions of history and authorship were indistinguishable from the oral traditions of myth and storytelling. In the spirit of recasting these legends and voices for new audiences, celebrated mythologist and storyteller Martin Shaw and award-winning poet Tony Hoagland have created extraordinary new versions of these bardic lyrics, folkloric sagas, and heroes journeys, as they have never been rendered before.

In long, shaggy tales of the unlikely ascensions of previously unknown heroes such as Cinderbiter, in the shrouded origin stories of figures such as Arthur and Merlin, and in anonymous flickering lyrics of elegy, praise, and heartbreak, these poems retain at once the rapturous, supernatural imagination of the deep past layered with an austere, devout allegiance to the Christian faith. Shaw and Hoagland's collaboration summons the power within this storehouse of the Celtic mind to arrive at this rare book—distinctive, audacious, and tuned to our time and condition with a convincing resonance.

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