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Prince Rupert's Drop
ISBN: 978 1 903039 75 5
Published: October 1999
216 x 135 x 4 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
At the eleventh hour in the empty quarter
we stand and watch our shadows
spinning on the clock clock face of the sand.
We are the dunes, the Chiltern hudnreds,
ash and lilac, oak and beech wood
made by all the women of your family.
Our room is as full as a quarrel, as empty
as a child with the windows out. Clouds
of our old clothes race across the floor.
We aree not even the stars. the lid of our house
is off, and in the lava trail of tail-lights on the hill
we must make all our journeys over again.
Poetry Book Society Recommendation
'Prince Rupert's drop', a rare curiosity of the glass-making process, is a tear of glass at once immensely resilient yet spectacularly fragile, exploding dramatically when shattered. This tension - between the present beauty and the sense of inevitable loss inherent in the things we most admire - is a key to many of the poems in Jane Draycott's work, particularly to the long central poem 'Braving the Dark', written after her brother's death from AIDS at the age of 30.
This is Jane Draycott's first collection of poems. It follows a pamphlet, No Theatre, that was a first-stage winner of the Poetry Business Competition (1996) and was most unusually shortlisted for the Forward Prize in 1997. She is also the co-author of Christina the Astonishing (Two Rivers Press, 1998).
Jane Draycott has lived and taught in London, Strasbourg and Tanzania, and was for a while co-director of a small theatre company, Four Corners. She now works in adult education and lives in Oxfordshire.
Table of Contents
When I woke, the darkest dreams continued
Silence, Drift, Aeroplane
Braving the Dark
Jacob Wrestles with the Angel
In Memory of Henry West
On the Demolition of the Regal
Prince Rupert's Drop
from Christina the Astonishing
1. The Levitation of St Christina
2. The Tunnel
3. Salvation as a Diving-Suit
4. St Christina Settles Down in a Convent after her
Miraculous Time as a Bird
Lady Grange on St Kilda
The Pathologist and the National Trust
Tita and Disraeli
The First Week
We All Know that You're Going
Trident Papa India
Praise for Jane Draycott 'Her searching curiosity and wonderful assurance make her an impeccable and central poetic intelligence.'
Penelope Shuttle, Manhattan Review 'I've waited some time to read something this intelligent, this sensuous and this crystalline. In fact The Night Tree is the finest collection I've read for ages.'
'Jane Draycott's quiet, meticulous poems inhabit the vague, evanescent world between waking and sleeping. Her vision is of an England half in dream, a Samuel Palmer twilight in which things begin to move into an unexpected focus.'
Times Literary Supplement 'The language is marvellously modulated yet stirringly wild. Draycott has carried over into our tamer, tired world a strong, strange sense of how original, gorgeous and natural this old poem can be.' - David Morley, Poetry Review
'When Jane Draycott read, for the first time, sections of her exquisitely modulated translation of the 'Pearl' poem, its echoing character seemed to transport me from one cultural space to another... I came as close to hearing the 'Pearl' poet's voice as I am ever likely to be.' - Stella Halkyard, PN Review 'Draycott's version is compellingly human.'
Lachlan Mackinnon, Times Literary Supplement
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