If All the World and Love Were Young

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Penguin Books Limited, Aug 29, 2019 - Poetry - 128 pages
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Winner of the Forward Prize for Best First Collection
Longlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize

A Sunday Times, New Statesman and Telegraph Book of the Year 2019

'Every poem in this book is a marvel. Taken all together they make up a work of almost miraculous depth and beauty' Sally Rooney

'A poetry debut fit to compare with Seamus Heaney. This wonderful long poem is up there with the greats' Sunday Times


When Stephen Sexton was young, video games were a way to slip through the looking glass; to be in two places at once; to be two people at once. In these poems about the death of his mother, this moving, otherworldly narrative takes us through the levels of Super Mario World, whose flowered landscapes bleed into our world, and ours, strange with loss, bleed into it. His remarkable debut is a daring exploration of memory, grief and the necessity of the unreal.

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Sometimes a way of coping with events in the real world is to head back to the things that gave you comfort in the past. For Stephen Sexton this means heading to the world of Super Mario Kart, where ... Read full review

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About the author (2019)

stephen sextonlives in Belfast. His poems have appeared in Granta, POETRY, and Best British Poetry 2015. His pamphlet, Oils, was the Poetry Book Society's Winter Pamphlet Choice. He was the winner of the 2016 National Poetry Competition, the recipient of an ACES award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, and was awarded an Eric Gregory Award in 2018.

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