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It Says Here by Sean O'Brien review – impossibility made possible

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From postwar London and empty afternoons to a perfect love affair, this masterly new collection is rich in beautiful phrases

Sean O’Brien, although familiar as one of our most garlanded poets (winner of the TS Eliot prize and, three times, of the Forward), is still in no way – to his credit – a known quantity. His masterly new collection, It Says Here, is partly about unknown quantities. In the title poem, he writes:

That the sky is a page where with a flourish
The birds write the truth in invisible ink
And the eye is too slow to be certain
That this word and that word are never to meet

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