Free Verse Editions
Edited by Jon Thompson
Information and Pricing
978-1-64317-169-2 (paperback, $13.99); 978-1-64317-170-8 (PDF, $9.99) © 2008 by Parlor Press, 82 pages
Watch and hear Kelvin Corcoran read from The Republic of Song at the Molly Bloom 1 event on 26 August 2020.
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Rose Solari, "Challenge and Ambition," Washington Independent Review of Books, 17 Sept. 2020.
What People Are Saying
The poems in this new collection meditate on the idea of Europe, explore the transformative and inspirational effects of music on the mind and heart, and reflect, in the great sequence ‘The Museum of the Sea’, on the impact of the long history of sea travel in Greece on our collective imagination and sense of time, place and space. This is an Odyssey of a collection, furious with the rankle and stench of Brexit destructiveness, praising the sensuous, wily and passionate stories of interchange, voyaging, local/global imagining associated with the sea, celebrating the communitarian and loving associations generated by true culture, lyric, song-making. The writing is sharp-witted and sweet-tongued, musical, attentive to its own sounds, graces, verbal textures, a paean to feeling and communal life among words, a feast of affects and deep time thinking, for the ear and its sea-song musics. —Adam Piette
The Republic of Song is Corcoran’s Waste Land, stripping away consoling myth, personal and public, only here there can be no revitalized King. This kind of anger that can only come from an exiled son, recalling his once green hopes, pillaged and replaced by a doomed mirage. Beautiful and angry, sad and amused, hopeless and wise: here is a socialist rebuke, here is an anthem of collapse, here is the Republican song sounded over the ravaged common. —Martin Corless-Smith
Corcoran is a superbly skilled lyricist. He celebrates Greece’s coastlines, meadows and mountains – the tangible, visible surfaces from which its most enduring mythologies are drawn. —Frances Leviston, The Guardian
Corcoran is so skilled with his line and subject matter, he can help us wake up through his writing: he sweeps from the ancient to the contemporary and back again, often in the same short stanza . . . His work is linguistically complex yet, emotionally, socially, politically and, above all, poetically (musically) alive. —Andy Brown, Stride Magazine
Corcoran is at the front of contemporary poetry: the lyric grace of his language is threaded with an historical perspective that raises the poetry far beyond the world of a localized present. —Ian Brinton, Tears in the Fence
About This Book
The Republic of Song is a journey to discover the place of that name, moving through abhorrence to vision. The political chicanery of barely believable figures is excoriated and set against a world where Orpheus holds sway, friendship outstares death, Nina Simone is happy and Jack Spicer sends us a message about daddy Zeus president. In The Republic of Song everything is changed and the lyric states its claim in the face of exile. The Republic of Song is also that place where having a drink with a friend in a bar in Brussels can unlock part of the story and prompt the freedom of seeing things for what they are. In the conclusive poem, “The Museum of the Sea,” the supposedly distant past is alive in the present and deep time is now, Odysseus is at sea with the victims of the migrant crisis, everything is new and nothing is new.
About the Author
Kelvin Corcoran lives in Brussels. He is the author of numerous books of poetry, including most recently Facing West (2017), the Medicine Unboxed sponsored Not Much To Say Really (2017), Article 50 (2018), and Below This Level (2019). The sequence ‘Helen Mania’ was a Poetry Book Society choice and the poem ‘At the Hospital Doors’ was highly commended by the Forward Prize jury 2017. His work is the subject of a study edited by Professor Andy Brown, The Poetry Occurs as Song (2013). He edited an account of the poetry of Lee Harwood in Not the Full Story: Six Interviews with Lee Harwood (2008). In addition, his poetry has been commissioned to accompany traveling Arts Council exhibitions of British modernist art. He has collaborated with various musicians and composers both in performance and recording, producing the CD A Thesis on the Ballad with The Jack Hues Quartet. His work has been anthologised in the UK and the USA and translated into Greek and Spanish. He is the guest editor of the Shearsman poetry magazine.
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