DAVID HARSENT has published nine collections. He has won the Forward Prize. His most recent collection, Night, won the Griffin International Poetry Prize. Harsent has collaborated with composers (most often Harrison Birtwistle) on commissions from the Royal Opera House and important international festivals and programs.
Yannis Ritsos (1909–1990), one of Greece’s great poets, was nine times nominated for the Nobel Prize. In Secretgives the reader David Harsent’s free versions, “re-imaginings,” “adaptations”—a precious few of Yannis Ritsos’ short lyrics. His books were publicly burned and he spent many years in prison or in island detention camps. Ritsos sometimes wrote at near-epic length, but much of his work consists of short lyrics: story-fragments, tiny psychodramas.
“Harsent has an unmistakable, endlessly adaptable style, able to hit every tone on the scale, from leer to lament . . . Pain and loss light us through the darkness.”
— From The Guardian review of Harsent’s Night by Frances Leviston