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Cain Named The Animal

Paperback / ISBN-13: 9781472156587

Price: £10.99

ON SALE: 7th April 2022

Genre: Literature & Literary Studies / Poetry

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‘In McCrae’s hands, poetry is reclamation. It is also transport: writing a way out and through’ Kate Kellaway, Guardian

‘Confirms McCrae as one of the most erudite and inventive poets of our time’ Kit Fan, Guardian

Writing you I give the death I take
I know I should feel wounded by your death
I write to you to make a wound write back

Shane McCrae fashions a world of endings and infinites in Cain Named the Animal. With cyclical, rhythmic lines that create and recreate images of our shared and specific pasts, McCrae writes into and through the wounds that we remember and ‘strains toward a vision of joy’ (Will Brewbaker, the Los Angeles Review of Books).

Cain Named the Animal expands upon the biblical, heavenly world that McCrae has been building throughout his previous collections; he writes of Eden, of the lost tribe that watched time enter the garden and God rehearse the world, and of the cartoon torments of Hell. Yet for McCrae, these outer bounds of our universe are inseparable from the lives and deaths on earth, from the mundanities and miracles of time passing and people growing up, growing old, and growing apart. As he writes, ‘God first thought time itself/Was flawed but time was God’s first mirror.’

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Out of personal history, out of the history of an enduringly fractured nation, and out of the deep history of language, Shane McCrae is writing the most urgent, electric poems of his generation
Garth Greenwell
'Shane McCrae is one of our best, a great poet who mines the rhythms and vernacular of America, excavating the most exquisite of poems. His work is risky, not risqué; intelligent, not clever; deep, not jocular surface play. He is sui generis
Rabih Alameddine
One of McCrae's characteristic dramatic monologues, in which the US poet uses mid-line gaps as punctuation - a pause for emphasis, or for breath - creating a kind of contrapuntal rhythm against the iambic pentameter of his lines
The Daily Telegraph
Remarkable . . . rich and ambitious
In McCrae's hands, poetry is reclamation. It is also transport: writing a way out and through
Kate Kellaway, Guardian
'McCrae's poems possess a self-reflective quality without being burdened by history . . . His poetry moves freely within the restricted syllabic lines, constructing a wild, vivid dreamworld of a lush green garden, where an angry robot bird leads us down an Edenic rabbit hole . . . It confrms McCrae as one of the most erudite and inventive poets of our time, throwing punches at the English language and its hierarchical traditions'