Profile acquires history of 20th century poetry

Profile acquires history of 20th century poetry

Profile Books has acquired a history of 20th century poetry by John Burnside.

Publishing director Mike Jones bought the world rights to the book, which has the working title The Music of Time, from Anna Webber at United Agents. Publication is set for 2017.

“It is a hugely exciting to be working with John Burnside on this project. He is an incredibly talented poet in his own right, and he has an awe-inspiring breadth of knowledge, understanding and passion for writing, history, politics, culture; for the human condition,” said Jones. “Poetry is flourishing today and yet the development of poetry through the 20th century, how it was influenced by and reacted to world events and sweeping cultural change, how it maintained its relevance and how poets became cultural icons themselves, is a great untold story.”

Burnside said the he will examine the lives of individual poets but also the broader questions relating to politics and history.

“Questions about whether Auden was right to say that poetry 'makes nothing happen' and Mandelstam's description of Acmeism as 'homesickness for a world culture', (echoed across Europe during the 20th century) have been in my head for a long time,” Burnside said. “To have an excuse to build my own argument for poetry's importance in social / political / historical terms, and to retell the lives of these poets, is really wonderful.”

Burnside is the author of several novels and 14 books of poetry, and has won the Geoffrey Faber Prize, the Whitbread Poetry Prize, the Petrarca Preis, the Forward prize and the T S Eliot Prize. His memoir, A Lie About My Father (Vintage), received the Saltire Book of the Year Prize, the Sundial/SAC Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award and a Corine International Literature Prize.