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ISBN: 978 1 847771 99 5
Categories: 21st Century, Welsh, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: October 2012
216 x 135 x 8 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (EPUB), eBook (Kindle)
Snowlight and sunlight, the lake glacial.
Too bright to open my eyes
in the dazzle and doze
of a distant January afternoon.
It’s long ago and the house naps in the plush silence
of a house asleep, like absence,
I’m dreaming on the white bear’s shoulder,
paddling the slow hours, my fingers in his fur.
His eyes are glass, each hair a needle of light.
He’s pegged by his claws to the floor like a shirt on the line.
He is a soul. He is what death is. He is transparency,
a loosening floe on the sea.
But I want him alive.
I want him fierce
with belly and breath and growl and beating heart,
I want him dangerous,
I want to follow him over the snows
between the immaculate earth and now,
between the silence and the shot that rang
over the ice at the top of the globe,
when the map of the earth was something we knew by heart,
and they had not shot the bear,
had not loosed the ice,
had not, had not…
In Ice Gillian Clarke turns to the real winters of 2009 and 2010. In their extremity they redefined all the seasons for her. Nature asserted itself and renewed the environment for the imagination. The poem ‘Polar’ is the poet’s point de repère, evoking a polar-bear rug she had as a child and here resurrects in a spirit of personal and ecological longing that becomes a creative act. She lives with the planet, its seasons and creatures, in a joyful, anxious communion.
The book also includes the ‘asked for’ and commissioned poems, and the Guardian spreads Clarke has written during her time as National Poet of Wales (2008 onwards). She follows in the rich millennium-old Welsh tradition of occasional writing going back to the first-known named British poets Aneirin and Taliesin in the sixth century.
Gillian Clarke is one of the most widely respected and deeply loved poets in the world.
Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate
Home for Christmas
In the Bleak Midwinter
Hunting the Wren
Carol of the Birds
The Dead after the Thaw
Who Killed the Swan?
The Newport Ship
In Wern Graveyard
Er Gwell, Er Gwaeth
Between the Pages
Small Blue Butterfly
Blue Sky Thinking
A Wind from Africa
Running Away to the Sea – 1955
Oradour, 10 June 1944
A Glory in Llanberis Pass
Shearwaters on Enlli
White Cattle of Dinefwr
Sarah at Plâs Newydd, Llangollen, 5 July 1788
In the Reading Room
The Book of Aneirin
Lament for Haiti
The Fish Pass
Ode to Winter
The Year’s Midnight
Praise for Gillian Clarke
'Clarke's mellifluous new collection [A Recipe for Water] is her first since her appointment as Wales's national poet in 2008. The drop of water on the tongue, she tells us, 'was the first word in the world', and it's through water that these poems give up their stories: history is written into the Arctic's ice; myths well up from river sources; the currents on the ocean wash culture and heritage onto our shores. Watery collections have poured forth from the pens of poets from Sean O'Brien to Maura Dooley in recent years; anticipation is high for Clarke's contribution to the pool'. - Sarah Crown, the Guardian, 3 January 2009
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