David Harsent

Writer

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Books

Associate Agent : Christian Ogunbanjo

Film, TV & Theatre

Associate Agent : Christian Ogunbanjo

Books

David Harsent is a critically acclaimed poet, novelist and librettist. Under the pseudonyms David Lawrence, David Pascoe and Jack Curtis he has published thrillers that have been translated into fifteen languages, and has worked extensively for the BBC and ITV (see David Lawrence). His most recent collection of poems, FIRE SONGS, won the 2015 T.S. Elliot Poetry Prize.

LEGION was the winner of the Forward Prize for poetry in 2005, and the following volume, NIGHT was shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards, the TS Eliot prize, and was nominated for the Forward Prize.  His work in music theatre includes commissions from the Royal Opera House and the Proms and performances at the South Bank Centre and Carnegie Hall.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, an Honorary Research Fellow at Royal Holloway University and, in 2008, was appointed Visiting Professor at Hallam University, Sheffield.

FIRE SONGS, Faber, 2014

Reviews for NIGHT

'Truly significant poets write like no one else, and David Harsent is both sui generis and unsurpassed. Taking over where his Forward Prize-winning book Legion left off, Night conducts an examination of the human psyche that is unique in both the unflinchingness of its gaze, and the narrative metaphors it uses to explore dream-life, terror and hidden impulse... Working, as poetry should, on every level at once, Harsent's verse is also unified by rhyme and its variants — including alliterative chime — which fill the mouth with pleasure and beg to be read aloud... At once disciplined and wild at heart, as linguistically rich as it is visceral, Night is Harsent’s finest book to date.'  Independent

'Harsent has a dreamer’s eye and an unerring ear... “Elsewhere”, the long poem that ends the collection, is [his] most dazzling achievement... This poem deepens the theme of dispossession, the days and nights of reckoning, the consideration of what it might mean to lose everything. Harsent alludes to loss in so many ways but his poems are treasures — all gain.' Observer

'It’s an unmistakeable, endlessly adaptable style, able to hit every tone on the scale, from leer to lament... Pain and loss light us through the darkness, Harsent insists, as well as contributing to it. The light of these poems is essential.'  Guardian

Poetry

Publication DetailsNotes

FIRE SONGS

2014

Faber

*Winner of T.S. Eliot Poetry Prize (2015)

IN SECRET - VERSIONS OF YANNIS RITSOS

2012

Enitharnon

NIGHT

2011

Faber

Shortlisted for the Costa Book Prize (poetry), the T.S. Eliot Prize, and nominated for the Forward Proze 2011.

SELECTED POEMS 1969-2005

2007

Faber

In an illustrious career, David Harsent has published eight collections of poetry, from "A Violent County" in 1969 to "Legion", winner of the Forward Prize in 2005. This selection, made by the author himself, draws upon the full arc of his career and offers an outstanding concentration of, and introduction to, the full range and powers of this distinguished poet.

LEGION

2005

Faber

Forward Prize Winner 2005/6
Shortlisted for T.S. Eliot Prize
Shortlisted for Whitbread Award

MARRIAGE

2002

Faber

Shortlisted for T.S. Eliot Prize.
Shortlisted for the Forward Prize.

A BIRD'S IDEA OF FLIGHT

1998

Faber

Shortlisted for the Forward Prize

SPRINTING FROM THE GRAVEYARD

1997

OUP

Translation from original by Goran Simic.

THE SORROW OF SARAJEVO

1996

Refer to United Agents

Translation from originals by Goran Simic

NEWS FROM THE FRONT

1993

OUP

SELECTED POEMS

1989

OUP

MISTER PUNCH

1984

OUP

DREAMS OF THE DEAD

1977

OUP

Geoffry Faber Memorial Award Winner
Arts Council Bursary

AFTER DARK

1973

OUP

TRUCE

1973

Refer to United Agents

A VIOLENT COUNTRY

1968

OUP

Arts Council Bursary

Other

Publication DetailsNotes

ANOTHER ROUND AT THE PILLARS: A FESTSCHRIFT FOR IAN HAMILTON (ed.)

1999

Refer to United Agents

Gawain

1991

Refer to United Agents

Libretto

FROM AN INLAND SEA

1986

Viking

Novel

Film, TV & Theatre

David Harsent is a critically acclaimed poet, novelist and librettist. Under the pseudonyms David Lawrence, David Pascoe and Jack Curtis he has published thrillers that have been translated into fifteen languages, and has worked extensively for the BBC and ITV (see David Lawrence).

LEGION was the winner of the Forward Prize for poetry in 2005, and his current volume, NIGHT has been shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards, the TS Eliot prize, and was nominated for the Forward Prize.  His work in music theatre includes commissions from the Royal Opera House and the Proms and performances at the South Bank Centre and Carnegie Hall.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, an Honorary Research Fellow at Royal Holloway University and, in 2008, was appointed Visiting Professor at Hallam University, Sheffield.

NIGHT, Faber,  2011

Currently shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards 2011

Currently shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize

Shortlisted for the Forward Prize 2011

'Truly significant poets write like no one else, and David Harsent is both sui generis and unsurpassed. Taking over where his Forward Prize-winning book Legion left off, Night conducts an examination of the human psyche that is unique in both the unflinchingness of its gaze, and the narrative metaphors it uses to explore dream-life, terror and hidden impulse... Working, as poetry should, on every level at once, Harsent's verse is also unified by rhyme and its variants — including alliterative chime — which fill the mouth with pleasure and beg to be read aloud... At once disciplined and wild at heart, as linguistically rich as it is visceral, Night is Harsent’s finest book to date.'  Independent

'Harsent has a dreamer’s eye and an unerring ear... “Elsewhere”, the long poem that ends the collection, is [his] most dazzling achievement... This poem deepens the theme of dispossession, the days and nights of reckoning, the consideration of what it might mean to lose everything. Harsent alludes to loss in so many ways but his poems are treasures — all gain.' Observer

'It’s an unmistakeable, endlessly adaptable style, able to hit every tone on the scale, from leer to lament... Pain and loss light us through the darkness, Harsent insists, as well as contributing to it. The light of these poems is essential.'  Guardian

Opera

ProductionCompanyNotes

THE LOCKED ROOM

Music Theatre Wales

Music by Huw Watkins. To be performed at the Edinburgh International Festival 2012

THE YELLOW WALLPAPER

Chester Music

Music by Simon Holt. To be performed in Cardiff, April the 20th, 2012

THE CORRIDOR

Aldeburgh Music

Music by Harrison Birtwistle. Aldeburgh Festival 2009, Bregenz Festival 2009

CRIME FICTION

Music Theatre Wales

Music by Huw Watkins. Libretto for a short opera.

MINOTAUR

Royal Opera House

Music by Harrison Birtwistle. Libretto for an opera.

WHEN SHE DIED

Kammeroper, Vienna / Channel 4

Music by Jonathan Dove

THE RING DANCE OF THE NAZARENE

BBC/ Dutch Radio

Music by Harrison Birtwistle. First performance Conertgebouw, Amsterdam. Promenade Concert in 2004.

THE WOMAN AND THE HARE

The Nash Ensemble

Music by Harrison Birtwistle. Song cycle. Grammy Nom

GAWAIN

Royal Opera House

Music by Harrison Birtwistle. Libretto for an opera. First performance May 1991. Revivals in 1994 and 2000.

THE HOOP OF THE WORLD

Music by Alan Lawrence. Libretto for an opera. Score in preparation.

SERENADE THE SILKIE

Prussia Cove Festival 1994

Music by Julian Grant.