Bookshop Window: Collected Poems - P J Kavanagh: Carcanet, pounds 18.95

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The Independent Culture
P J Kavanagh's Collected Poems would be worth the price for one gorgeous spread alone, pages 56-57, with three poems - 'The Temperance Billiards Room', 'In the Rubber Dinghy', and 'Perfection Isn't Like a Perfect Story' - that ought to be among the most famous of the late 20th century. Perhaps if they became Poems on the Underground, they would be; perfect cameos of love, they show that all the traditional virtues of poetry can still function in the post-modern age. Especially in his later poems, Kavanagh is our modern MacNeice, with all that master's knack of blending the homespun with a nimble suavity.