New Release Books by David Constantine

David Constantine is the author of The New Abject (2020), The Dressing-Up Box (2019), Refugee Tales: Volume III (2019), Protest (2017) and other 52 books.

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The New Abject

release date: Oct 29, 2020
The New Abject
SOMETHING HAS FALLEN AWAY. We have lost a part of ourselves, our history, what we once were. That something, when we encounter it again, look it straight in the eyes, disgusts us, makes us retch. This is the horror of the abject. Following the success of Comma’s award-winning New Uncanny anthology, The New Abject invites leading authors to respond to two parallel theories of the abject – Julia Kristeva’s theory of the psychoanalytic, intimate abject, and Georges Bataille’s societal equivalent – with visceral stories of modern unease. As we become ever-more isolated by social media bubbles, or the demands for social distancing, our moral gag-reflex is increasingly sensitised, and our ability to tolerate difference, or ‘the other’, atrophies. Like all good horror writing, these stories remind us that exposure to what unsettles us, even in small doses, is always better than pretending it doesn’t exist. After all, we can never be wholly free of that which belongs to us.

The Dressing-Up Box

release date: Sep 19, 2019
The Dressing-Up Box
Against the backdrop of war, a group of children barricade themselves in an abandoned townhouse, cherishing what’s left of their innocence with the help of a dressing-up box... A deep-sea diver takes to being suspended for hours at a time on the end of a line not long enough to reach the seabed... An aging widower moves into the shed at the end of his garden to plan out his ‘endgame’ surrounded by a lifetime’s worth of hoarded curiosities... The characters in David Constantine’s fifth collection are all in pursuit of sanctuary; the violence and mendacity of the outside world presses in from all sides – be it the ritualised brutality suffered by children at a Catholic orphanage, or the harrowing videos shared among refugees of an atrocity ‘back home’. In each case, the characters withdraw into themselves, sometimes abandoning language altogether, until something breaks and they can retreat no further. In Constantine’s luminous prose, these stories capture such moments in all their clarity; moments when an entire life seems to hang in the balance, the past’s betrayals exposed, its ghosts dragged out into the daylight; moments in which the possibility of defiance and redemption is everything. Praise for The Dressing-Up Box: 'A quietly furious and moving collection...' - A.L. Kennedy 'Precise in their intensity, unsettling, suddenly and unexpectedly luminous, these stories will stay with you and unfurl within you.' - Lucy Caldwell 'A beautifully crafted tender, evocative collection. Full of wisdom and light.' - Irenosen Okojie 'David Constantine's fifth collection of stories is a fierce and tender meditation on our struggle to live - a lyrical and plainspoken portrait of humanity at its pernicious worst and its suffering, creative, resilient best.' - Carys Davies

Refugee Tales: Volume III

release date: Jun 27, 2019
Refugee Tales: Volume III
With nationalism and the far right on the rise across Europe and North America, there has never been a more important moment to face up to what we, in Britain, are doing to those who seek sanctuary. Still the UK detains people indefinitely under immigration rules. Bail hearings go unrecorded, people are picked up without notice, individuals feel abandoned in detention centres with no way of knowing when they will be released. In Refugee Tales III we read the stories of people who have been through this process, many of whom have yet to see their cases resolved and who live in fear that at any moment they might be detained again. Poets, novelists and writers have once again collaborated with people who have experienced detention, their tales appearing alongside first-hand accounts by people who themselves have been detained. What we hear in these stories are the realities of the hostile environment, the human costs of a system that disregards rights, that denies freedoms and suspends lives. ‘We hear so many of the wrong words about refugees – ugly, limiting, unimaginative words – that it feels like a gift to find here so many of the right words which allow us to better understand the lives around us, and our own lives too.’ – Kamila Shamsie All profits go to the Gatwick Detainee Welfare Group and Kent Help for Refugees.

Protest

release date: Jun 22, 2017
Protest
Whatever happened to British protest? For a nation that brought the world Chartism, the Suffragettes, the Tolpuddle Martyrs, and so many other grassroots social movements, Britain rarely celebrates its long, great tradition of people power. In this timely and evocative collection, twenty authors have assembled to re-imagine key moments of British protest, from the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 to the anti-Iraq War demo of 2003. Written in close consultation with historians, sociologists and eyewitnesses – who also contribute afterwords – these stories follow fictional characters caught up in real-life struggles, offering a streetlevel perspective on the noble art of resistance. In the age of fake news and post-truth politics this book fights fiction with (well researched, historically accurate) fiction. Protests include the Peasants Revolt, Poll Tax Riots, Anti-Iraq War Demo and many more...

The Life-Writer

release date: Sep 19, 2016
The Life-Writer
A New York Times Notable Book 2016 An October Indie Next List “Great Reads” Pick After the death of her beloved husband, Katrin, a literary biographer, picks her way through a trove of his letters and postcards, slowly piecing together the entirety of his life. Surprised by an unlikely chapter in his past that was never revealed during their marriage, Katrin sets off on a heartbreaking journey to discover the man she never fully knew.

Belongings

release date: Jun 25, 2020
Belongings
David Constantine's poetry is informed by a profoundly humane vision of the world. His title, Belongings, signals that these are poems concerned with our possessions and with what possesses us, with where we belong. Another kind of belonging is also challenged: our relationship with the planet to which we belong, but which does not belong to us.

In Another Country

release date: May 25, 2015
In Another Country
Named to Kirkus Reviews' Best Story Collections of 2015 Featuring the story adapted into the Academy Award nominated film, 45 YEARS "I started reading these stories quietly, and then became obsessed, read them all fast, and started re-reading them again and again. They are gripping tales, but what is startling is the quality of the writing. Every sentence is both unpredictable and exactly what it should be."—A.S. Byatt, The Guardian "Rich and allusive and unashamedly moving."—The Independent "Spellbinding."—The Irish Times "An uneasy blend of the exquisite and the everyday . . . the beatific, the ordinary, the rebarbative even, are almost indistinguishable . . . intelligent and well-turned."—The Times Literary Supplement "Perhaps the finest of contemporary writers in this form."—The Reader The first American publication by one of the greatest living fiction masters, In Another Country spans David Constantine's remarkable thirty-year career. Known for their pristine emotional clarity, their spare but intensely evocative dialogue, and their fearless exposures of the heart in moments of defiance, change, resistance, flight, isolation, and redemption, these stories demonstrate again and again Constantine's timeless and enduring appeal. David Constantine is an award-winning short story writer, poet, and translator. His collections of poetry include The Pelt of Wasps, Something for the Ghosts (shortlisted for the Whitbread Poetry Prize), Nine Fathom Deep, and Elder. He is the author of one novel, Davies, and has published four collections of short stories in the United Kingdom, including the winner of the 2013 Frank O'Connor Award, Tea at the Midland and Other Stories. He lives in Oxford, where, until 2012, he edited Modern Poetry in Translation with his wife Helen.

The BBC National Short Story Award 2010

release date: Dec 05, 2013
The BBC National Short Story Award 2010
The BBC National Short story Award is one of the world's largest awards for a single short story. All five shortlisted stories, including the winner, are published here side by side. The Award is designed to honour Britain's finest short story writers and to re-establish the importance of the short story as a central literary form. This year's shortlist brings together a high calibre group of new and established authors exploring human relationships at their most dysfunctional and yet sustaining. Splintered families, the persistence of love, the public versus the private, and the plight of the outsider all provide a recurring focus for the authors in the running for the prize, which marks its fifth year in 2010. The panel of judges this year includes the author and Guardian journalist Kamila Shamsie, author and poet Owen Sheers, author Shena MacKay, BBC Editor of Readings, Di Speirs and the Today Programme's James Naughtie, who also introduces the collection.

Decapolis

release date: Dec 03, 2013
Decapolis
Decapolis is a book which imagines the city otherwise. Bringing together ten writers from across Europe, it offers snapshots of their native cities, freezing for a moment the characters and complexities that define them. Ten cities: diverse, incompatible, contradictory in everything from language to landscape. In Amsterdam every Friday night, a lonely woman cooks for her men, a circle of middle-aged bachelors. In Barcelona, a self-regarding poet tries to capture the essence of the city in an eleven-word lyric. In Reykjavik, an unemployed journalist wanders through the deserted buildings of the newspaper he once wrote for. In all cases, these are cities in states of transition: Zagreb in the shadow of the Balkan conflict; Manchester on the cusp of social and economic change; Berlin with half its industrial buildings abandoned like the Mary Celeste. The ultimate untranslatability of these cities experiences is never in question, and yet through these fractured, isolated glimpses chance encounters, snatches of conversation, local TV bulletins something quite unlikely begins to emerge: a commonality grounded in the fleeting and the momentary, a continuum, perhaps, of urban experience *'Deca-Polis': Greek for ten-cities.

Under the Dam

release date: Dec 03, 2013
Under the Dam
David Constantine's Under the Dam was chosen as one of their Books of 2005 by both The Independent and The Guardian. See Press below. "FLAWLESS AND UNSETTLING" - Boyd Tonkin, Books of the Year 2005, The Independent. In the middle of a speech a businessman realises his soul has just left his body. In an Athens marketplace, a jealous lover finds himself staggering through a vision of hell. High in the Alps, a young woman’s body re-appears in the glacier, perfectly preserved, where she fell 50 years before. Entering Constantine’s stories is like stepping out into a wind of words, a swarm of language. His prose is as fluid as the water that surges and swells through all his landscapes. Yet, against this fluidity, his stories are able to stop time, to freeze-frame each protagonist’s life just at the moment when the past breaks the surface, or when the present - like the dam of the title - collapses under its own weight. “I started reading these stories quietly, and then became obsessed, read them all fast, and started re-reading them again and again. They are gripping tales, but what is startling is the quality of the writing. Every sentence is both unpredictable and exactly what it should be. Reading them is a series of short shocks of (agreeably envious) pleasure...” – AS Byatt, Book of the Week, The Guardian “A superb collection” – Nicholas Royle, The Independent “This is a haunting collection filled with delicate clarity. Constantine has a sure grasp of the fear and fragility within his characters.” – A. L. Kennedy

Tea at the Midland

release date: Nov 29, 2013
Tea at the Midland
**WINNER of the 2013 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award** **WINNER of the BBC National Short Story Prize** 'The excellence of the collection is fractal: the whole book is excellent, and every story is excellent, and every paragraph is excellent, and every sentence is excellent. And, unlike some literary fiction, it's effortless to read.' - The Independent on Sunday ‘Perhaps the finest of contemporary writers in this form.’ – The Reader To the woman watching they looked like grace itself, the heart and soul of which is freedom. It pleased her particularly that they were attached by invisible strings to colourful curves of rapidly moving air. How clean and clever that was! You throw up something like a handkerchief, you tether it and by its headlong wish to fly away, you are towed along... Like the kite-surfers in this opening scene, the characters in David Constantine’s fourth collection are often delicately caught in moments of defiance. Disregarding their age, their family, or the prevailing political winds, they show us a way of marking out a space for resistance and taking an honest delight in it. Witness Alphonse – having broken out of an old people’s home, changed his name, and fled the country – now pedalling down the length of the Rhône, despite knowing he has barely six months to live. Or the clergyman who chooses to spend Christmas Eve – and the last few hours in his job – in a frozen, derelict school, dancing a wild jig with a vagrant called Goat. Key to these characters’ defiance is the power of fiction, the act of holding real life at arm’s length and simply telling a story – be it of the future they might claim for themselves, or the imagined lives of others. Like them, Constantine’s bewitching, finely-wrought stories give us permission to escape, they allow us to side-step the inexorable traffic of our lives, and beseech us to take possession of the moment.

Poetry

release date: Oct 03, 2013
Poetry
Poetry offers a unique perspective on the current and future value of poetry in terms of the public good.

Nine Fathom Deep

release date: Jan 01, 2009
Nine Fathom Deep
Like the work of the European poets who have nourished him, David Constantine's poetry is informed by a profoundly humane vision of the world. In the title-poem of his latest collection - which illuminates the themes of the whole book - the lovers are a utopian answering back against the curse (following a crime against Nature) that is carried by the ship passing above them. Throughout these poems, the personal life, with its own joys and suffering, asserts itself against a world whosecharacteristic forces are dispiriting and destructive. "Nine Fathom Deep" shows how all personal life and all poetry written from it deal with the realities of social and political life in the here and now, assert themselves, fight for survival, and actively seek to make a world in which humane self-realisation would be more and more, not less and less, possible.

When I Was Touched by Love

release date: Nov 08, 2018
When I Was Touched by Love
When I Was Touched By Love is a book of poems divided into six chapters about love, heartache, pain and the beauty of both life and art. It depicts the rise and fall of a man mentally and emotionally heart broken, yet full of sunshine.

For The Love of It

release date: Sep 01, 2018

Collected Poems

release date: Jan 01, 2004
Collected Poems
A collection of poems by the author that is informed by a profoundly humane vision of the world. It features poems that hold a worried and restless balance between celebration and anxiety, restraint and longing.

Getting it Across

release date: Jan 01, 2007

Elder

release date: Jan 01, 2014
Elder
Like the work of the European poets who have nourished him, David Constantine's poetry is informed by a profoundly humane vision of the world. Many of the poems in his latest collection spring from particular localities: Sicily, the North of England, Southern France, the Aegean, Wales; others from certain places in literature and mythology. Published on his 70th birthday, David Constantine's tenth book of poetry sounds many personal, elegiac notes as well as - in the story of Erysichthon, for example - anxiety at the abuse of Earth, but there is also much celebration of love, beauty, and the hope and aspiration in human beings to live well in the time allowed.

Transitions

release date: Oct 01, 2012
Transitions
This volume of translated poems, short essays and anecdotes address the idea of transition in as many ways as possible - from the theory of translation itself, to the life of the translator as someone constantly hovering between the foreign and the native.

Back at the Spike

release date: Jan 01, 1994

In the Footsteps of the Gods

release date: Apr 12, 2011
In the Footsteps of the Gods
The classical world has for centuries influenced and inspired the west -- its poetry and literature, art, architecture -- but what provoked the move from the west’s love-affair with classical Rome and its manifestation in the Renaissance, to its focus on the Hellenic world? The decisive shift in focus and taste from Rome to Greece in the eighteenth century began in the 17th century, when a succession of travellers -- mainly from France and England -- journeyed to Greece and what is now Turkey and rediscovered the Hellenic world. In the Footsteps of the Gods traces the ways in which the constantly changing ideal image of ancient Greece, its art and culture, inspired those who travelled there. With lively accounts of their adventurous journeys and vivid descriptions of what they saw, discovered, collected and published about the remains of ancient Greece, it reveals the extraordinary effects that these travellers’ account had on the poets and scholars of the west, who in turn were influential in creating the idea and ideal of Greece, which became such a powerful force in the arts and politics of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. At the heart of the book is, in the words of Richard Stoneman, "a poet’s vision of Greece."

Selected Poems

release date: Jan 01, 1991
Selected Poems
Selection drawn from David Constantine's first three collections, A Brightness to Cast Shadows, Watching for Dolphins and Madder, plus new poems, since replaced by his Collected Poems (2004).

The Shieling

release date: Jan 01, 2009
The Shieling
This is a collection of short stories that shows what poetry re-forged as fiction is capable of. Whatever the backdrop, these stories depict vivid moving figures in isolation, drawn against the stark, troubling backdrop of their pasts.

Madder

release date: Jan 01, 1987
Madder
David Constantine's third collection was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation. This edition is now out of print but the entire collection is reprinted in his Collected Poems (2004).

Molecular-beam Epitaxial Growth and Characterization of Aluminum Gallium Arsenide/indium Gallium Arsenide Single Quantum-well Modulation-doped Field-effect Transistor Structures

release date: Jan 01, 1988

Something for the Ghosts

release date: Jan 01, 2002
Something for the Ghosts
The prevailing mood of David Constantine's poetry is one of unease, often elegiac or comically edged, barbed with pain or tinged with pleasure. His new book Something for the Ghosts holds a worried and restless balance between celebration and anxiety, restraint and longing. Before ghosts speak, they need a drink of blood, according to Homer. Several of these poems summon up the dead and give them a voice, giving expression to the love and grief that go with them. All poetry, however private or distant its origins, is an attempt to give palpable life to what would otherwise be unapproachable by the senses. Every reader gives someone else's poem a new lease of life, another metamorphosis in flesh and blood, and the poem quickens its new host like the necessary draught that Odysseus gave his ghosts at the mouth of Hades. David Constantine's book does not exorcise any ghosts, but rather does the opposite, making them more vigorous and persistent in their haunting.This edition is now out of print but the whole collection is included in David Constantine's Collected Poems (2004).

Davies

release date: Jan 01, 1985
Davies
Davies became famous briefly in 1911 when Home Secretary Winston Churchill raised his case in Parliament. But who was Davies? In this fictionalised account of a lifelong petty criminal, Constantine explores the mystery of a shadowy loner caught in a vicious circle of self-perpetuating crime.David Davies (1849-1929) was known in his day as the 'Dartmoor Shepherd'. He spent half a century in prison for a succession of minor offences, mostly for stealing coppers from the poor-boxes of local churches. In Constantine's novel three characters reflect on Davies' life, and understand him as best they can. But Davies remains uncomprehended and in isolation.Davies came from Llanfyllin, Montgomeryshire, and Constantine has set his novel in the counties of the Welsh Marches, in Flint and Montgomery, Shropshire and Cheshire. He has made much use of documentary material - Hansard, newspaper reports and a biography - and aims in his novel to seek a truth behind established facts. Although historically based, Davies is a novel whose concerns are very much relevant to the present day, particularly in its portrait of the habitual offender and of vagrancy.This first novel by a young award-winning Bloodaxe poet marks the emergence of an exciting new talent in British fiction.

A Brightness to Cast Shadows

A Brightness to Cast Shadows
In A Brightness to Cast Shadows, his first collection of poems, David Constantine creates a world of heightened contrasts: celebrating personal love; reaching into social misery; exploring the beauty and harshness of nature. His poems are often conceived in groups or cycles, and particular landscapes are evoked: West Cornwall, North Wales, the Pennines. The collection includes his poem sequence 'In Memoriam 8571 Private J.W. Gleave', a deeply moving account of his grandmother's lifelong incomprehension of her husband's death in the trenches. David Constantine's poetry is direct and uncomplicated, combining classical precision and a tender lyricism; he writes, as we should read, with the kind of sensitivity Randall Jarrell characterised as 'a mixture of sharp intelligence and of willing emotional empathy, at once penetrating and generous'.

Watching for Dolphins

release date: Jan 01, 1983
Watching for Dolphins
David Constantine's second book shows a remarkable development in the range and power of his poetry. After establishing his reputation with the quiet but resonant poems of A Brightness to Cast Shadows (1980), Constantine has gone on to achieve a classical mastery of form and to further develop a highly individual voice, which now has an almost visionary edge. In the poems and related Greek translations of Watching for Dolphins David Constantine recreates a complete imaginative world. Mythical an biblical figures - Christ, Lazarus, Aphrodite and Persephone - appear as opposing forces of Christian compassion and classical excellence. Contrasts and contradictions are at the heart of Constantine's poetic world. The possibility of personal happiness is insisted upon: any wider optimism would be out of place.

A Living Language

release date: Jan 01, 2004
A Living Language
David Constantine's three lectures have to do with the chief end and means of poetry: a lively and effective language. In the first, Translation Is Good For You, drawing mainly on the life, letters and poems of Keats, he considers translation as a way to a poetic identity and a language of one's own. In the second, Use and Ornament, Constantine looks at the particular case of a poet, Brecht, who wanted his writing to be useful but who understood better than most what the peculiar resources and responsibilities of the lyric poem are. Wilfred Owen and Keith Douglas are also considered in this context. The third lecture, Poetry of the Present, largely concerned with Walt Whitman and D.H. Lawrence, discusses the ambition of free verse to convey the abundance and quickness of life in the truest (liveliest) way. The sonnets and other fixed forms used by Rilke are offered as an alternative. In all three lectures there is a continual effort to define the good effects a poem may have when, by whatever means, it achieves its ends.

Caspar Hauser

release date: Jan 01, 1994
Caspar Hauser
The subject of Constantine's fifth book of poems is the enigmatic German Caspar Hauser, who was incarcerated for most of his childhood, released, and then murdered. He appeared in Nuremberg in 1828, able to write his name and say without understanding it one sentence: "I want to be a rider like my father was". Taken in by well-wishers one of whom fell in love with him he was attacked with a razor by an unknown assailant. Three years later, the eccentric Lord Stanhope made him his ward and left him in another town to go travelling. In 1833 he was killed. Constantine's epic poem unravels the strange strands of Caspar's short life. He touches on the intrigues of the time (Caspar may have had a claim to the throne of Baden), but his cantos are mainly concerned with Caspar's innocence and the extraordinary reactions of his untried nervous system to a new life in daylight, and the longings and hopes he awakened in others.
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