Shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry 2017
The Noise of a Fly is the first collection from Douglas Dunn in sixteen years, and the first since he was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 2013. It is a book brimming with warmth, mischief and a self-deprecating humour, as well as with a charming, 'Larkinesque' crankiness: a quarrel with ageing, an impatience with youth, the grievousness of losing friends and colleagues. But for all its intimate, hearthside rumination, this is a volume of poems that looks outward in equal measure: at Scottish independence, British politics and an international refugee crisis, and reflects unflinchingly on what it is to consider oneself a contributor to society. Penned with a dexterous wit and a steady nerve, The Noise of a Fly is a mesmeric imagining of our later years by one of this country's most senior and celebrated writers.
'It is hard to think of many poets who can equal his combination of imaginative ambition, formal resource and range of tone . . . Written on these terms, poetry is a matter of permanent urgency.' Sean O'Brien
'The most respected Scottish poet of his generation.' Nicholas Wroe
Douglas Dunn was born in Inchinnan, Renfrewshire, in 1942 and lived there until he married at the age of twenty-two. After working as a librarian in Scotland and Akron, Ohio, he studied English at Hull University, graduating in 1969. He then worked for eighteen months in the university library after which, in 1971, he became a freelance writer. In 1991 he was appointed Professor in the School of English at the University of St Andrews. As well as ten collections of poetry, including Elegies (1985), The Year's Afternoon, The Donkey's Ears (both 2000), and New Selected Poems 1964-2000 (2003), Douglas Dunn has written several radio and television plays, including Ploughman's Share and Scotsman by Moonlight. He has also edited various anthologies, including Twentieth-Century Scottish Poetry (2006). Douglas Dunn has won a Somerset Maugham Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, and has twice been awarded prizes by the Scottish Arts Council. In 1981 he was awarded the Hawthornden Prize for St Kilda's Parliament. In January 1986 he was overall winner of the 1985 Whitbread Book of the Year Award for his collection Elegies.