Devon Hymns

from Jeremy Clarke

A limited (300), hand numbered edition.
Designed by Jeremy Clarke and Agnes Cserhati
and composed in Sylfaen 11pt.

Printed off-set on Antique Book Laid
with logo in letterpress, it is smyth-sewn
and perfect bound in Canada by
Gaspereau Press, Kentville, Nova Scotia.

Original artwork by John Berger and Yves Berger.

Published by Rufus Books, Toronto.

A cd recording (read by the author) also available:

Comments & Reviews:

'Written with both wit and a profound sense
of time passing, Devon Hymns takes us to what
he calls ''the great mismatch / of man and field''.
A place where the cattle themselves are recognised
with a new vision of their existence. Witty and moving,
reticent and self-revealing, harsh and lyrical by degrees.'
~ Ronald Blythe

'No subject - however unlikely or fleeting - escapes Clarke's
interest or compassion. His meticulous, melodious words illuminate something transcendental in the lowest of human circumstances.'
~ T. J. Adair

'Clarity of vision and tactility of imagery that matches Hopkins. Whatever he writes about - people, animals, things, places - it is as if he is seeing them from within. He doesn't impose his own expression, or even experience, upon them. The expression is of the thing in itself.'
~ Andrew Nicholson

Article (Daily Telegraph)

'St. Pancras Old Church, a few hundred yards north of the Eurostar terminal, is a haunted and lovely spot, rich in literary and artistic associations. As a site of Christian worship, there is evidence suggesting that it dates back to the 4th century - pre-dating anything in Kent or Essex - and while the present building is largely a Victorian confection of faux Anglo-Saxonry (restored by Quinlan Terry, following damage by Satanists), there are traces of pre-Norman masonry in the walls.

Its graveyard, used by the community as a green space, offers a delightful haven from the roar of the railway. Sir John Soane, architect of the Bank of England, is buried here, as is Byron's doctor, John Polidori, and the sculptor John Flaxman. It was here, too, so they say, where atheistic Shelley seduced his future wife Mary on the tomb of her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft. As a trainee architect, Thomas Hardy cleared the old gravestones to make way for the railway. From her bed in the hospital opposite, looking over those gravestones, Sylvia Plath wrote 'Tulips'.

At the church's west front is a stone carved by Emily Young with the inscription, 'And I am here in a place beyond desire or fear'. This is a line from a poem by Jeremy Clarke, whose manuscripts can be seen framed on the walls of the church and who one imagines as the hermit of this place. The fact is that he is a quiet, modest, youthful figure, currently unknown except to a small body of admirers (including John Berger and Ronald Blythe), who lives in a barely furnished eyrie a few minutes walk away. To call him a mystic would be pompous, but there is something impressively dedicated about his solitary and austere existence. 'I am a Christian,'' he says, ''but I only go into a church when it is empty.'

On Wednesday, at Any Amount of Books in Charing Cross Road at which Clarke occasionally works to pay the bills, Rufus Books will publish his new collection 'Devon Hymns', inspired by his years living on a farm, and in January he takes up his post as poet-in-residence at Eton College. Is this worldly fame at last?
Clarke shrugs his shoulders: poetry is his vocation, he says, not his profession. 'I just want to keep myself focused on the truth and communicate it as honestly and as clearly as I can.''

~ Rupert Christiansen, Daily Telegraph, 4 October 2010



A second printing of this edition was made in 2011.

Devon Hymns copyright © Jeremy Clarke 2011

All Rights Reserved

ships out within 3 days
edition of 300 

  £12 GBP or more 



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