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RRP: GBP£ 9.99
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Price: GBP£ 8.99
This title is available for academic inspection (paperback only).
ISBN: 978 1 784101 80 0
Categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Bestsellers, British, War writings, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: March 2016
216 x 135 x 5 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (Kindle), eBook (EPUB), eBook (PDF)
Digital access available through Exact Editions
Skies is Alison Brackenbury’s ninth Carcanet collection. In these poems, Brackenbury sustains delicate proximities between war and love, joy and sadness, summer and winter. Starting out as the first trees ‘chatter into leaf’, the poems cross through July’s ‘dripping amber’ to January’s ‘false thaw’. The seasonal shift is reflected in the poet’s larder, its variegating hues and tastes: honeycomb, parsnips, apples, broad beans, sprouts, jams and spices summon an air of harvest. But it is also the seasons of life that concern Brackenbury here: the poet’s irrecoverable past, her youth ‘which I can never visit, like a star’, is at the same time the thing that never stops revisiting: in an unexpected letter from an old lover, in a half-remembered playground song. The poems in Skies are attuned to this musicality, to time’s echoes and refrains, the old errors that still ‘flower and flower’. Finally, it is the poet’s quiet conviction to savour life, to take seriously its succulent variety, that defines this collection: the poems attest to the special privileges of age: wisdom, self-sufficiency, a deepening patience with the world; the ability to be, as the poet says of an apple, ‘self-sweet’. The communal warmth of the kitchen finds its double in the exquisite loneliness of rising early, of hearing the barking of town foxes at dawn, or in the contemplation of a garden in autumn, its rows of hips swelled by rain, a rose ‘whose name I think means happiness’.
'Brackenbury is a poet of strong feeling, deeply involved with her subject matter. That the work is cast with such craft and needs to do so little to draw attention to itself makes it all the more pleasurable.'
Jonathan Davidson, Poetry Review 'Alison Brackenbury's ninth collection of poems is a humble, often humorous, celebration of the everyday and the privileges of age.' - Harriet Barker, TLS 'It is her immediate response to the natural world happenings, the seasons, family and memories, and all life's incidentals that make her poems so easy to relate to.' - D. A. Prince, The North 'Alison Brackenbury loves, lives, hymns and rhymes the natural world and its people like no other poet.'
Gillian Clarke, National Poet of Wales Praise for Alison Brackenbury 'Filigreed with images of light and dark throughout, it's evocative, amusing and utterly compelling.'
Frances Lass, Radio Times 'Glorious'
Gillian Reynolds, Daily Telegraph 'Enchants'
The Times 'Alison has a fine ear for rhythm and sound and, like all good poets, is a sharp observer of the world around us.'
Angela France, Gloucestershire Echo 'The delicate particularity [...] of her style chimes with that of the world. [...] One hopes that Brackenbury's kind of distinctive formal sensibility won't disappear any time soon.'
Vidyan Ravinthiran, Poetry London
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