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Sleeping on Islands : A Life in Poetry

Sleeping on Islands : A Life in Poetry

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by Motion, Sir Andrew | Biography & True Stories
Published 18/05/2023 by FABER & FABER in the United Kingdom
Hardback | 320 pages
197 x 131 x 23mm | 526g

Andrew Motion has been close to the centres of British poetry for over fifty years.

Sleeping on Islands is his clear-sighted and open-hearted account of this remarkable career. It takes us from scenes of a teenage home-life coloured by tragedy and silence - where writing was as much a refuge as an assertion - to the excruciations of early public appearances, to the decade he spent as Poet Laureate, promoting and ensuring the central place of poetry in a nation's character. Along the way, we hear about the risks and sacrifices involved, as well as the difficulties of sustaining a commitment to writing within a helix of other obligations. We see in close-up the significance of Motion's formative relationship with W. H. Auden and his subsequent friendship with Philip Larkin. And during his time as Laureate, we witness memorable encounters with Royalty and Prime Ministers, and discover the costs and complications that accompany such a high-profile role.

By turns moving and humorous, this is the intimate story of a rare poetic life. And it proves Motion's contention that the poems we most enjoy 'are not weird visitations, or ornaments stuck on the surface of life, but part of life's daily bread'.

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