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Caroline Bird

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  • Caroline Bird has seven previous volumes published by Carcanet. Her sixth collection, The Air Year, won the Forward Prize for Best Collection 2020 and was shortlisted for the Polari Prize and the Costa Prize. Her fifth collection, In These Days of Prohibition, was shortlisted for the 2017 TS Eliot Prize and the Ted Hughes Award. A two-time winner of the Foyles Young Poets Award, her first collection Looking Through Letterboxes was published in 2002 when she was 15. She won an Eric Gregory Award in 2002 and was shortlisted for the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize in 2001 and the Dylan Thomas Prize in 2008 and 2010. She was one of the five official poets at the 2012 London Olympics.  In 2023, she won a Cholmondeley Award. Her Selected Poems, Rookie, was published in 2022.
    'Caroline Bird's latest work, Ambush At Still Lake, evokes the nostalgic charm of classic Hollywood cinema, weaving together elements of cartoons, westerns, and black-and-white movies. However, beneath its cinematic veneer lies a deep emotional resonance, illuminating the transformative power of love. Through its masterful storytelling, Bird deftly illustrates how a singular moment can serve as a poignant testament to the enduring capacity for renewal within the human heart.'

    Roger Robinson

    'Bird's poetry is characterised by a restless transformative energy that can make the most mundane things seem rich and strange; if this is rookiness it is an art of its own.'

    Tiffany Atkinson, The Poetry Review
    'All shiny and exciting... Many of Bird's speakers are in a free-fall of existential despair... searching for a moment of happiness that feels uncomplicated, and can last'

    Jenna Clake, Poetry London

    'Her phrasemaking is sublime... it's superb'
    Tristram Fane Saunders, February Telegraph Book of the Month 2020
    'Caroline Bird's is an unquestionably vigorous and original voice'
    Suzannah V. Evans, The TLS
    'Bird is a master of bleak humour interlaced with wry social commentary.'
    Poetry London
    '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 in 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'. She's dangerous and witty too with a rare quality of imagination. This is a wonder, a beautifully written book of poems.'
    Lemn Sissay
    '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
    Awards won by Caroline Bird Long-listed, 2023 The Polari Book Prize (Rookie) Winner, 2023 A Cholomondeley Award
    Short-listed, 2021 The Polari Book Prize
    (The Air Year)
    Winner, 2020 The Forward Prize for Best Collection (The Air Year) Short-listed, 2020 Costa Poetry Award
    (The Air Year)
    Short-listed, 2017 The Ted Hughes Award for New Poetry (In These Days of Prohibition) 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
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