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Cinderbiter

Celtic Poems
Versions by Martin Shaw and Tony Hoagland

Ahead is an island.
But that is no island.  

The scaled-greasy-gray aquatic scalp of the serpent.

End-bringer
     Terror-wakener
                          Black worm

Seven yawns the creature makes,
and then the tongue seeks flesh council,
darting the waves.
—from “Cinderbiter”

Cinderbiter collects tales and poems originally composed and performed centuries ago in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, when notions of history and authorship were indistinguishable from the oral traditions of myth and storytelling. In the spirit of recasting these legends and voices for new audiences, celebrated mythologist and storyteller Martin Shaw and award-winning poet Tony Hoagland have created extraordinary new versions of these bardic lyrics, folkloric sagas, and heroes’ journeys, as they have never been rendered before.

In long, shaggy tales of the unlikely ascensions of previously unknown heroes such as Cinderbiter, in the shrouded origin stories of figures such as Arthur and Merlin, and in anonymous flickering lyrics of elegy, praise, and heartbreak, these poems retain at once the rapturous, supernatural imagination of the deep past layered with an austere, devout allegiance to the Christian faith. Shaw and Hoagland’s collaboration summons the power within this storehouse of the Celtic mind to arrive at this rare book—distinctive, audacious, and tuned to our time and condition with a convincing resonance.

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$16.00
ISBN
978-1-64445-027-7
Format
Paperback
Publication Date
Subject
Pages
152
Trim Size
6 x 9

Dramatic new retellings of Celtic poetry’s great lyrics and legends

About the Author

Tony  Hoagland
Credit: Elizabeth Jacobson
Tony Hoagland was the author of seven collections of poetry, including Priest Turned Therapist Treats Fear of God, What Narcissism Means to Me, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Donkey Gospel, winner of the James Laughlin Award of the Academy of American Poets. He was also the author of two collections of essays, Twenty Poems That Could Save America and Other Essays and Real Sofistikashun: Essays on Poetry and Craft. He received the Jackson Poetry Prize from Poets & Writers, the Mark Twain Award from the Poetry Foundation, and the O. B. Hardison, Jr. Award from the Folger Shakespeare Library. He taught for many years at the University of Houston. Hoagland died in October 2018.
 
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Martin  Shaw
Credit: Dulcie Shaw
Martin Shaw is a celebrated storyteller and mythologist, and the author of three books. He lives in Devonshire, UK.
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Praise

  • “This is the stuff out of which the modern genre of fantasy romance and quest was born. In these versions, that stuff is tougher, sharper, and clearer. Oh, do read them aloud!”Booklist, starred review
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