Dannie and Joan Abse had been married for more than fifty years when she was killed in a car crash in 2005. After her death he wrote his extraordinary memoir of loss, The Presence, which was the Wales Book of the Year in 2008.In contrast, much of this new collection is a delightful celebration. In it Dannie Abse returns to their marriage through all its seasons, and celebrates love in verse which is funny, tender and playful as well as serious and passionate. Almost half the poems appear in this form for the first time.'One for sorrow, two for joy' is the old country saw about the magpie. These poems reflect its truth, and in the process transfigure ordinary life and love into something rich and strange.
Dannie Abse, poet and doctor, lives in Golders Green. This year he celebrated sixty years of publishing with Hutchinson. A former President of the Poetry Society, he has written over thirty books, including poetry, fiction, criticism, plays, medical subjects and memoirs. His novel The Strange Case of Dr Simmonds and Dr Glas was long-listed for the Booker Prize and his recent memoir The Presence was Wales Book of the Year 2008.