The Estate of Dannie Abse

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Agent: Robert Kirby
Associate Agent: Kate Walsh


Poet Dannie Abse was born on 22 September 1923 in Cardiff to Jewish parents and died on 28 September 2014. He studied Medicine in Wales and at King's College, London, qualifying as a doctor in 1950. His first collection of poetry, After Every Green Thing, was published in 1948, and he has continued to combine his careers as both a doctor (he was a specialist at the Central Medical Establishment chest clinic between 1954 and 1989) and writer, aspects of his life that, together with his Jewish background and Welsh nationality, are integral themes in his poetry.

Dannie Abse was married to the late Joan Mercer, art historian, with whom he edited two books, Voices in the Gallery: Poems and Pictures (1986) and The Music Lover's Literary Companion (1988).

His latest book of memoir, The Presence (2007), is a celebratory portrait of his 50-year marriage. It won the Arts Council of Wales Book of the Year Award in 2008. New Selected Poems (2009) has been published to coincide with the 60th anniversary of his first collection After Every Green Thing.

Dannie's forthcoming collection of poetry, ASK THE MOON, will be published by Hutchinson in November 2014.



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JR Books

The Music Lover's Literary Companion contains much of the best imaginative writing about music and musicians by authors present and past. Here, among much else, can be found vivid autobiographical writings by Berlioz, Mendelssohn, Shaw and many others, and hilariously funny account of a night at the opera by Bernard Levin, caustic comments by Tolstoy and Carlisle, Philip Larkin's charming description of his early attachment to jazz and Alred Brendel's confessions of his anxiety about the pianos that wait for him in a hundred concert halls. A feast of memorable poetry and fiction are included too.



Dannie Abse, whose career as a poet spans sixty years, has made a huge contribution to the literature and literary life of Wales and to poetry and prose in the English Language. The Sourcebook is an essential companion to the poetry, prose, drama and critical writings of this major poet. Cary Archard has edited and written about Abse's work for over twenty years and collects here a marvellous representative selection of Abse's own writings, together with criticism of his work, which illuminates Abse's achievements for both students and general readers. * Biographical and critical introduction * Selection of Abse's criticism, autobiography and fiction * Interviews * Reviews of Abse's poetry over sixty years * Critical essays of Abse's poetry, some newly commissioned * Bibliography



Several months after the death of poet Dannie Abse's wife, Joan, in a car accident, he began to write a diary which is both a record of present grief and a portrait of a marriage which lasted more than fifty years. It is an extraordinary document, painful but celebratory, funny yet often tragic, bursting with joy as well as sorrow and full of a deep understanding of what it means to be human.
'A remarkable and tender document' Sunday Times 'Supple, poignant and entirely real' Maggie Gee, Independent


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A complete anthology spanning from 1948-2015, complete with new poems, from multi-award winning Dannie Abse, one of Britain's most well-respected poets.

This is the collection of a lifetime's work from one of Britiain's best-loved poets. Dannie Abse has published an array of work including fiction, autobiography and plays but he is best known, and critically acclaimed, as a poet.

Dannie Abse collects together here the definitive jewels of his cannon. This volume comprises both a distinguished collection of his past work and a generous selection of new poems.



The ventriloquist bird invoked at the beginning and end of Dannie Abse's new collection is bright-plumed but fugitive. On its wing we enter a rich poetic landscape of real and imagined worlds, in which humour and tragedy appear in turn with startling vividness.

At the autobiographical heart of this extraordinary collection, published in Dannie Abse's ninetieth year, is a particular vision of human possibilities, a delight in things seen and achieved and an awareness of the transience of it all.



Dannie and Joan Abse had been married for more than fifty years when she was killed in a car crash in 2005. After her death he wrote his extraordinary memoir of loss, "The Presence", which was the Wales Book of the Year in 2008. In contrast, much of this new collection is a delightful celebration. In it Dannie Abse returns to their marriage through all its seasons, and celebrates love in verse which is funny, tender and playful as well as serious and passionate. Almost half the poems appear in this form for the first time. 'One for sorrow, two for joy' is the old country saw about the magpie. These poems reflect its truth, and in the process transfigure ordinary life and love into something rich and strange.



The year 2009 marks the 60th anniversary of the publication of Dannie Abse’s first poetry collection, After Every Green Thing, and since that time he has published an astonishing range of books, including poetry, fiction, criticism and autobiography. He remains a writer of great distinction who is at the height of his powers – his memoir, The Presence, won the Wales Book of the Year in 2008. But it is as a poet that Dannie Abse is best known, and to mark this extraordinary milestone he has compiled a new and definitive volume of selected poems which includes new work combining both passion and maturity.


Seren Books

Welsh Retrospective is a selection of poems about his native Wales by one of Britain's most popular poets. In this revealing book he writes movingly about the Cardiff of his childhood, home to his beloved Bluebirds football team, and also about the small village of Ogmore-by-Sea, location of early holidays and for many years his home in Wales.


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Widely acclaimed for its warm humour, lyricism and honesty, as well as its accurate evocation of the thirties, Ash on a Young Mans Sleeve has become a sought-after classic. In this delightful autobiographical novel, Dannie Abse skilfully interweaves public and private themes, setting the fortunes of a Jewish family in Wales against the troubled backcloth of the times- unemployment, the rise of Hitler and Mussolini, and the Spanish Civil War.