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  You are in: Home > Literary Criticism > For the Tempus-Fugitives  

For the Tempus-Fugitives
Poems and Verse-Essays

In the Series
Critical Voices

Christopher Norris

Christopher Norris s Distinguished Research Professor in Philosophy at the University of Cardiff in Wales where he previously taught English literature. He is the author or editor of more than forty books on topics in philosophy, literary theory, music, and the history of ideas, among them ― most recently ― Deconstruction After All, Philosophy Outside-In, and Derrida, Badiou and the Formal Imperative. His first collection of poems, The Cardinal’s Dog and Other Poems was published by the De La Salle University Publishing House in Manila and the Seventh Quarry Press in Swansea, Wales.


In this latest collection of poems and verse-essays, Christopher Norris revisits many of the topics for which he is best known as a philosopher, literary theorist, and writer on music. Among them are the many-worlds metaphysics of Leibniz, the nature of subjective time-experience, the issue of poetic truth, the function of rhyme in poetry, the “theory wars” in literary studies, the augmented-fourth interval (or tritone), also known as the “devil in music,” and musical minimalism approached from a critical or cultural-diagnostic standpoint. There are also some shorter, more “occasional” pieces including an epithalamion (wedding-poem) for the poet’s daughter, a semi-fictive double sestina about police infiltration of activist groups, a savagely bawdy polemic imagined as addressed by the ancient Greek satirist Archilochus to his ex-fiancée Neobule, and a number of shrewdly angled political poems with reference to events from the 1980s to the present.

These pieces have the hallmark qualities of intellectual range, perceptive wit, and formal inventiveness that characterize Norris’s verse-essays. They make a strong case for poetry as a vehicle for argument, dialogue, and open debate.


  1. For the Tempus-Fugitives
  2. Diabolus in Musica
  3. Weather
  4. Lost Souls
  5. A Word Child
  6. A Family Business
  7. Naught for Your Desire
  8. Scissorhand (Matisse)
  9. An Epistle to Mr. Philip Glass
  10. A Moral Vacuum
  11. The Line of Duty (Sestinas)
  12. An Intermittence
  13. Epithalamion: For Jenny and Dave
  14. The Beauty of It
  15. A Difference of Views
  16. Neobule and Archilochus: An Exchange
  17. Budget Day, July 8th, 2015
  18. Strict-form Sestina for the Marquis de Sade
  19. Wife to Mr. Haydn
  20. Wavelengths
  21. Dylanelle: The Groucho View
  22. An Ancient Quarrel
  23. A Broken Music
  24. Days
  25. Hysteron-Proteron (Double Sonnet)
  26. Terza Rima for Terry (Meaning by Hawkes)
  27. On the Plurality of Worlds
  28. Beach Scene: Médusé


“This stunningly accomplished volume, which handles the most demanding verse forms with apparently effortless skill, confirms Christopher Norris’s status as one of the most erudite, original and adventurous English-language poets of our time.” Terry Eagleton, Distinguished Professor of English Literature, University of Lancaster

“ ‘Let's think,’ writes Christopher Norris, ‘let's think’ in verse, highly formalised verse. And let us, he writes, after Kant, ‘dare to know’ — to know, again in verse, highly formalised verse. And ‘let us,’ he writes, ‘know ourselves more fully.’ And we do. Here. Astonishing.” John Schad, Professor of Modern Literature, University of Lancaster


Publication Details

Paperback ISBN:
Page Extent / Format:
240 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Release Date:
May 2017
  Illustrated:   No
Paperback Price:
£22.95 / $29.95

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