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ISBN: 978 1 847770 88 2
Categories: 21st Century, Humour, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: November 2009
216 x 135 x 8 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (EPUB), eBook (Kindle)
You were travelling a grey motorway.
You had a baby in your lap
with enormous green eyes
and a scarily large head.
You parked the car in a lay-by, sat on the roof,
held her high like a trophy,
joked, 'One day all of this will be yours.'
Caroline Bird’s two earlier collections were acclaimed for their exuberant energy, surreal imagination and passion - 'a bit of a Howl for a new generation', wrote the Hudson Review. Watering Can celebrates life as an early twenty-something. The poems, writes Caroline Bird, 'contain prophetic videos, a moon colonised by bullies, weeping scholars, laughing ducks, silent weddings - all the fertiliser that pours on top of your head.' The extraordinary verve and compassion of her verse propels us into the anxiety of new responsibilities. Raw but never hopeless, Watering Can has comedy, wordplay and bright self-deprecation.
The Golden Kids
The Monogamy Optician
The Oven Glove Tree
Bow Your Head and Cry
Bright Winter Mornings in Oxford Town
The Fall of London
House and Soul
Poetry as a Competitive Sport
From the Sewer to the Sea: ‘A Healing Progress’
Poet in the Class
Blame the Poodle
The Perfect Man
The University Poetry Society
I Married Green-Eyes
Women in Progress
The Alcoholic Marching Song
Company of Women
A Love Song
Awards won by Caroline Bird Short-listed, 2017 The T.S. Eliot Prize (In These Days of Prohibition) Commended, 2004 Christopher Tower Poetry Prize Winner, 2000 Simon Elvin Young Poet of the Year Award Winner, 1999 Simon Elvin Young Poet of the Year Award Winner, 2002 Eric Gregory Award Winner, 2004 Peterloo Poets Competition (16-19 year-olds) Winner, 2003 Peterloo Poets Competition (16-19 year-olds) Winner, 2002 Peterloo Poets Competition (16-19 year-olds) Short-listed, 2001 Geoffrey Dearmer Prize Short-listed, 2008 Dylan Thomas Prize for young writers
'What an original captivating and spellbinding voice. Bird is fearless like 'the girl who dropped her ice-cream down a volcano and leaped in after it'. Sheâs dangerous and witty too with a rare quality of imagination. This is a wonder, a beautifully written book of poems.'
Praise for Caroline Bird 'Bird is a master of bleak humour interlaced with wry social commentary.'
'Caroline Bird's In These Days of Prohibition is equally pleasurable and disturbing, because it understands the genuinely strange ground on which we must build our thoughts and our emotions. In work of great and frequently comic poise it captures moments of absolute loss of control, and absolute freedom. We recognise that sustained unsettling comic virtuosity is the startling agent by which we engage with such loss, such freedom.'
- W.N Herbert (Chair of the 2017 T.S. Eliot Prize Judging Panel) 'Achieves serious funniness by filtering mental illness and addiction through the prism of pop-surrealism.'
Jeremy Noel-Tod, The Sunday Times
'Since she published her debut aged 15 in 2002, Bird's witty writing has been wrongly dismissed in some quarters as lightweight. This brave eighth collection (a slant account of her year in rehab) proves those critics wrong from its first page.'
Tristram Fane Saunders, The Daily Telegraph
'The poems in this, Bird's fifth collection, explode on the page, bristling with a vision of sanity within madness, order within chaos. She has the ability to describe a tortured soul in a twenty-first century manner, bringing humour, contemporary idiom and irony into the work.'
Dundee University Review of the Arts
'The poems of In These Days of Prohibition are disquieting: institutionalised, hedonistic, vacuous and nihilistic. The collection takes a hard look at contemporary society but is, ultimately, uplifting. If Brett Easton Ellis wrote poems, I'd like to think they'd be poems like these.'
John Field on the 2017 T.S. Eliot Prize shorlist newsletter
'Her poems burst with linguistic energy.'
Stephen Knight, Times Literary Supplement 'An astonishingly assured piece of work.'
Ruth Padel, Financial Times 'What an original captivating and spellbinding voice. Bird is fearless like 'the girl who dropped her ice-cream down a volcano and leaped in after it'. Sheâs dangerous and witty too with a rare quality of imagination. This is a wonder, a beautifully written book of poems.'
'A carnival of characters spills out of these poems, chased by paparazzi, doing somersaults and cartwheels with language... Caroline Bird puts us on the inside looking deeper in, under the glittering skin to the place where laughter begins, where mothers are children, where people feel pain and speak in tongues, where tongues are knives and "Someone still has to stay here and die".'
Imtiaz Dharker 'Caroline Bird has always written wise, bitterly funny and intellectually bracing poems.What has developed over the course of four collections is a voice heartbreaking in vision while simultaneously consoling in its constant and inspired invention.'
Luke Kennard 'Bird is irrepressible; she simply explodes with poetry. The work erupts, spring-loaded, funny, sad, deadly - you don't know if a bullet will come out of the barrel or a flag with the word BANG on it.'
Simon Armitage 'Her poems burst with linguistic energy, and the book is profligate with striking lines and images.'
Times Literary Supplement
'The tone fuses knowing innocence and integrity; some poems are faux naif with a ballad lilt, others are sad, funny surreal; all are studded with fresh imaginative insights.'
Ruth Padel, Financial Times
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