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About the book
  • Published: 15 May 2015
  • ISBN: 9781910701133
  • Imprint: Harvill Secker
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 176

Cries Of An Irish Caveman

'[His] voice speaks clearly on the page in poems of harrowing intimacy, politics and love. He holds a mirror up to himself: but we can see ourselves over his shoulder, whoever we are' - Carol Ann Duffy, Guardian


Cries of an Irish Caveman is Paul Durcan's most inspired and surprising collection of poems. Through four distinct sections, he brings his tender lyricism to bear on the themes of love and loss, life and death.

The first section describes an experience in Australia which provides a starting point for reassessing his past relationships and loves. The second returns to Ireland, its people and places, the celebrated and the unknown. The third section is a meditation on his daughter's marriage, placing within an historical and sacramental context a very personal event.

And finally, in some of his most daring and original writing, Durcan describes his own twentieth-century romance, replete with ecstacies and inevitable agonies, beauty and hope, but also brutality and self-abasement.

  • Pub date: 15 May 2015
  • ISBN: 9781910701133
  • Imprint: Harvill Secker
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 176

About the Author

Paul Durcan

Paul Durcan was born in Dublin in 1944. His first book, Endsville (1967), has been followed by more than twenty others, including The Berlin Wall Café (a Poetry Book Society Choice in 1985), Daddy, Daddy (winner of the Whitbread Award for Poetry in 1990), Crazy About Women (1991), A Snail in My Prime: New and Selected Poems (1993), Give Me Your Hand (1994), Greetings to Our Friends in Brazil (1999), The Art of Life (2004), The Laughter of Mothers (2007), Life is a Dream: 40 Years Reading Poems 1967–2007 (2009), Praise in Which I Live and Move and Have My Being (2012), and The Days of Surprise (2015). In 2001 Paul Durcan received a Cholmondeley Award. He was Ireland Professor of Poetry from 2004 to 2007. He was conferred with a DLitt by Trinity College Dublin in 2009 and by University College Dublin in 2011. In 2014 he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Irish Book Award. He is a member of Aosdána.

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Praise for Cries Of An Irish Caveman

“Paul Durcan's Ireland is the one we inhabit. At times he is ready to celebrate the bizarre and the ordinary; at other times he is full of a surreal rage against both order and disorder”

Colm Toibin, Times Literary Supplement

“For him poetry is story-telling and his stories are told in a direct fashion that makes them totally accessible... Paul Durcan's poetry sings”

Roger McGough, Sunday Tribune

“Durcan's poems contain an essentially empathetic morality. He slips from character to character (a bishop, a milkman, a refugee, a single mother, a roofer), and succeeds in demonstrating how near the foreign can be, and how comic or common the concerns”


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