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Seasonal Disturbances

Karen McCarthy Woolf

Seasonal Disturbances Cover
RRP: GBP 9.99
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This title is available for academic inspection (paperback only).
ISBN: 978 1 784103 36 1
Categories: 21st Century
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: July 2017
216 x 135 x 8 mm
84 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (Kindle), eBook (EPUB), eBook (PDF)
Digital access available through Exact Editions
  • Description
  • Author
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • 'A strange and stunning collection from a true writer. Vulnerable, hilarious and wise, Seasonal Disturbances is a darkly humorous exploration of the human condition.'
    Young Poet Laureate for London, Warsan Shire

    A 2017 Poetry Book Society Recommendation

    Following her groundbreaking 2014 début An Aviary of Small Birds (‘technically perfect poems of winged heartbreak’ – Observer), Karen McCarthy Woolf returns with Seasonal Disturbances.

    Set against a backdrop of ecological and emotional turbulence, these poems are charged yet meditative explorations of nature, the city, and the self. A sinister CEO presides over a dystopian hinterland where private detectives investigate crimes against hollyhocks; Halcyon is discovered as a dead kingfisher, washed up on an Italian beach. Lyrical and inventive, McCarthy Woolf’s poems test classic and contemporary forms, from a disrupted zuihitsu that considers her relationship with water, to the landay, golden shovel, and gram of &.

    As a fifth-generation Londoner and daughter of a Jamaican émigré, McCarthy Woolf makes a variety of linguistic subversions that critique the rhetoric of the British class system. Political as they may be, these poems are not reportage: they aim to inspire what the author describes as an ‘activism of the heart, where we connect to and express forces of renewal and love’.

    Cover Illustration: Nuri R. Melgarejo
    Karen McCarthy Woolf was born in London to an English mother and a Jamaican father. She is the recipient of the Kate Betts Memorial Prize and an Arts and Humanities Research Council scholarship from Royal Holloway, where she is a PhD candidate. Described in The Poetry Review as ‘extraordinarily moving and ... read more
    Awards won by Karen McCarthy Woolf Commended, 2017 Poetry Book Society Recommendation. (Seasonal Disturbances ) Short-listed, 2015 Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize
    (An Aviary of Small Birds)
    Short-listed, 2015 Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection
    (An Aviary of Small Birds)
    'Witty, provocative and lyrically accomplished.'
    Poetry London

    'For all its internationalism, McCarthy Woolf'€™s poetry engages with the local and the personal. Reading Seasonal Disturbances is like picking up a London A-Z and finding it'€™s a new map of the world.'
    Karen's poem 'Outside' from Seasonal Disturbances was Guardian Poem of the Week, 25th December 2017

    'Seasonal Disturbances is an unclassifiable book, revolutionary in its engagement with form, stunning in its intersectional politics, and an extraordinary achievement that should give the selectors of major poetry prize lists cold sweats for neglecting it. It will break you, in a good way. Truth hurts.'
    The Poetry School Books of the Year 2017

    'A fine antidote to Brexit delusions and certainties: London-watching and form-reshaping, unpredictable and casually intense.'
    Carol Rumens, Best Poetry Books of 2017, The Guardian

    'A masterclass in structure.'
    Magma Poetry

     'Seasonal Disturbances might be strange, but it'€™s also a brilliant selection of poems [...] It'€™s a collection that teaches you something about human beings as well as yourself.'
    The Poetry School
     'Formally ambitious...big-idea poems made up of bite-size insights and ironies that establish political anger and ecological anxiety.'
    The Sunday Times

    Praise for Karen McCarthy Woolf 'I loved Karen McCarthy Woolf's technically perfect poems of winged heartbreak'
    Maggie Gee, The Observer - The New Review, 29.11.2015. 
    '[McCarthy Woolf has] a powerful command of form and rhythm.'
    Alan Brownjohn, Poetry Review
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