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About the book
  • Published: 1 June 2011
  • ISBN: 9781409016205
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 608

Life is a Dream

40 Years Reading Poems 1967-2007




The bestselling Irish poet's selection from his lifetime's work.

Famous for his electrifying poetry readings, Paul Durcan marks four decades of composing silently and reciting aloud with this magnificent collection, which brings together for the first time the critically acclaimed poet's own choice of his work from his first book, Endsville (1967), to The Laughter of Mothers (2007). Life is a Dream represents the whole range of Durcan's writing - funny and subversive verse narratives and self-mocking poems of underachievement; poems celebrating love and sex or the lives of famous writers and artists; as well as tender, poignant verses commemorating the dead.

Throughout his long career, Durcan has continued to make passionate and moving poetry out of his own and his country's misfortunes. He is by turns a surrealist, a mystic, an Irish comedian with perfect comic timing and an angry champion of the oppressed. Life is a Dream reaffirms the constant vision and artistic integrity of one of the most powerful, humane and original voices in modern poetry.

  • Pub date: 1 June 2011
  • ISBN: 9781409016205
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 608

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 Life is a Dream

“Life is a Dream finally presents the evidence of major artistic achievement in a single, unified text.”

Harry Clifton, Irish Times

“The world is all the richer for this man's verse.”

Irish Independent

“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 Tóibín, Times Literary Supplement

“To have heard him read adds another pleasure to the reading of his work - but the voice speaks clearly on the page in poems of harrowing intimacy, politics and love”

Carol Ann Duffy, Guardian

“Durcan is a God. He can break your heart in supermarket or petrol station. He is unafraid, masterful and exactly what this world needs more of: wild abandon, wild love and sheer mad genius.”

Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones

“Paul Durcan's poetry sings”

Roger McGough


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