Stephen Edgar reviews 'Collected Poems' by Vikram Seth

Stephen Edgar reviews 'Collected Poems' by Vikram Seth

Collected Poems

by by Vikram Seth

Weidenfield & Nicolson $59.99 hb, 695 pp, 9780297608783

In one of the poems in Summer Requiem, the most recent of the books in this capacious volume, Seth recalls when he decided to write, 'What even today puzzles me by its birth, / The Golden Gate, that sad and happy thing, / Child of my youth, my first wild fictive fling.' Written in the difficult stanza form of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin, it was published to great acclaim and probably remains the best known of Seth's poetic works. It was from reading The Golden Gate (1986) that Gwen Harwood came to use the Onegin stanza, and through Harwood that I discovered it, so I have always felt a sort of gratitude at one remove to Seth. Not included in this collection, it was a virtuoso achievement, hard to foresee from Mappings (1980), his earliest book.

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Published in August 2016, no. 383
Stephen Edgar

Stephen Edgar

Stephen Edgar’s latest collection is Exhibits of the Sun (Black Pepper, 2014). His previous book, Eldershaw, was joint winner of the Colin Roderick Award for 2013 and was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards in 2014.

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