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  • Published: 23 April 2020
  • ISBN: 9781473575929
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 80
Categories:

Tongues of Fire




A remarkable first collection by an important new poet

A remarkable first collection by an important new poet

In this collection, Seán Hewitt gives us poems of a rare musicality and grace. By turns searing and meditative, these are lyrics concerned with the matter of the world, its physicality, but also attuned to the proximity of each moment, each thing, to the spiritual.

Here, there is sex, grief, and loss, but also a committed dedication to life, hope and renewal. Drawing on the religious, the sacred and the profane, this is a collection in which men meet in the woods, where matter is corrupted and remade. There are prayers, hymns, vespers, incantations, and longer poems which attempt to propel themselves towards the transcendent.

In this book, there is always the sense of fragility allied with strength, a violence harnessed and unleashed. The collection ends with a series of elegies for the poet’s father: in the face of despair, we are met with a fierce brightness, and a reclamation of the spiritual. ‘This is when / we make God, and speak in his voice.’

Paying close attention to altered states and the consolations and strangeness of the natural world, this is the first book from a major poet.

  • Published: 23 April 2020
  • ISBN: 9781473575929
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 80
Categories:

About the author

Seán Hewitt

Seán Hewitt was born in 1990 and read English at the University of Cambridge. He is a fiction reviewer for the Irish Times and a Leverhulme Research Fellow at Trinity College, Dublin. He won a Northern Writers' Award in 2016, the Resurgence Prize in 2017 and an Eric Gregory Award in 2019.

Praise for Tongues of Fire

This is an extraordinary collection - heart-bruising, tender - one to cherish, and live by. Though Hewitt moves us through anguish and destruction, love still glows; and in the dark undoings of these poems, decay lights the wildwood with its strange, ethereal foxfire. As Hewitt writes, "it is hard to tell where heaven starts"; I find it in these poems, which are beyond-gorgeous, beyond-glorious, blood-felt, feral, luminous.

Fiona Benson

Seán Hewitt understands that poetic form is sacred and mysterious. In these godforsaken times his reverent procedures are food for the soul.

Michael Longley

I fell in love with these wild, heartsore, ecstatic poems. They lead us to deep, hushed places - in the woods and heaths, in our hearts and bodies - and unearth such tenderness and dark treasure. Tongues of Fire is a beautiful book and Seán Hewitt is an extraordinary writer.

Liz Berry

It is extraordinary to encounter a debut collection that feels as established as Seán Hewitt’s… These unmediated poems are, at the same time, charged: they pull you in swiftly, you become immersed.

Kate Kellaway, Observer

Mature beyond his years, Hewitt is already the master of the glittering fragment… This is an astonishingly assured debut delivered in a poetic voice that has eloquence, compassion, and serenity in equal measure. Always there is a relentless striving to discover the numinous in nature, the same supplicant energy you find in the pantheistic tradition of Wordsworth, Whitman, John Clare, and Seamus Heaney… Hewitt seems to have sprung fully formed into the literary world and, on this showing, nothing seems beyond him.

Bert Wright, Sunday Times

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