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About the book
  • Published: 15 September 2011
  • ISBN: 9780224093439
  • Imprint: Jonathan Cape
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 80
  • RRP: $36.99

Profit and Loss




The third collection from the prize-winning Irish poet

Celebrated as an unusually original poet – nervy, refreshing, deceptively simple – Leontia Flynn has quickly developed into a writer of assured technical complexity and a startling acuity of perception. In Profit and Loss, her third collection, Flynn examines and dismantles a fugitive life. In a remarkable extended sequence, she takes a long hard look at time spent in the shared and rented flats of a ‘half-baked Belfast demimonde’ – places of cheap wine, dodgy landlords, potted plants and neglect – from a position of relative safety. The poet then takes another leap: showing a mastery of formal rhyme as she relaxes into the effortless, rangy rhythms of the long title poem – an extraordinarily moving reflection on mutability and mortality prompted by the spring-cleaning of a life’s detritus. Going though the memento mori of cassettes, old photographs, address books, ‘boarding passes, rail cards, ticket stubs’, the poem evolves from a private reliquary to a public obsequy – for a life unexamined until now. Beginning with flood and ending with the gold of an opening sky and a baby daughter, ‘Profit and Loss’ offers the possibilities of hope and repair, and casts its raking light over the whole collection – throwing it all into a deep, satisfying relief.

  • Pub date: 15 September 2011
  • ISBN: 9780224093439
  • Imprint: Jonathan Cape
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 80
  • RRP: $36.99

About the Author

Leontia Flynn

Leontia Flynn was born in County Down in 1974. Her first book These Days (2004) won the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, was shortlisted for the Whitbread Poetry Prize, and saw her named one of twenty ‘Next Generation’ poets by the Poetry Book Society. Her second collection, Drives, won the 2008Rooney Prize for Irish Literature and a major Individual Artist Award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Her third collection, Profit and Loss, was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize. She was awarded the Lawrence O’Shaughnessy Award for Poetry in 2013 and the AWB Vincent American Ireland Fund Literary Award for 2014.

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Praise for Profit and Loss

“Leontia Flynn disentangles complicated feelings with extraordinary elan and maturity. She has a natural's feel for cadence and melody, and launches her singing line boldly and with a propulsion that energises her often elaborate syntax...Affectionate and truculent by turns, disenchanted but relishing the world around her, quick-witted and big-hearted, Leontia Flynn looks like the real thing.”

Michael Longley

“Flynn's is one of the most strikingly original and exciting poetic voices to have emerged from Northern Ireland since the extraordinary debut by Muldoon 35 years ago...She doesn't put a foot wrong on the page.”

Fran Brearton

“Leontia Flynn really has something special...the achieved voice and assurance of a poet who knows exactly what she is talking about.”

John Burnside

“Drives, Leontia Flynn's second book of poems, like her remarkable first book These Days, was exact and casual and formally adept, a bit like an Irish (and female) Frank O'Hara, and not a bit like anyone else.”

Adam Phillips, Guardian Books of the Year

“Bathetic maybe, but is shows that profits - just - outweigh the losses”

Independent on Sunday


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