The Interpretation of Owls: Selected Poems, 1977-2022

Pre-Order   Ships 30 March 2023


The Interpretation of Owls is a representative selection of one of the UK's most prolific and respected poets. Edited by Kevin Gardner in consultation with John Greening himself, this first American collection showcases highlights of a remarkable forty-year poetic journey, displaying extraordinary variety and technical skill.

The contents (arranged thematically to illustrate Greening's abiding interests and influences) comprise more than 250 poems chosen from twenty individual collections published between 1982 and the present. Kevin Gardner has also made a welcome selection of previously uncollected and unpublished work. Readers of John Greening's accessible and musical lines will find themselves transported from America to England to Iceland to Ireland, with a long stay in Egypt and brief stopovers in several other countries.

Passing from the present to the ancient world and back, these poems reimagine historical figures, look inward at the poetic self, and explore the very meaning of home. This outward journeying through time and space is reinforced by a constant questing for spiritual meaning-reminiscent of T. S. Eliot, whose influence on Greening has been profound. Though we are unlikely to find him wrestling with angels, Greening is nevertheless constantly hoping for revelation, attuned to the numinous, treating creation as sacred, and ready to find a world of spirituality in history, myth, or even a lump of East Anglian clay.

The Interpretation of Owls features an author's preface, an editor's introduction, two indexes, and for readers who want to experience the work in its order of original publication, a chronological table of contents. Additionally, there is an invaluable new interview with the poet in which he discusses with the editor the background to some of the works.

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Baylor University Press
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