Carcanet Press
Quote of the Day
Your list has always been interesting, idiosyncratic, imaginative and your translations [...] have been a source of pleasure to me.
Al Alvarez

Caroline Bird

  • About
  • Reviews
  • Awards
  • Audio
  • Caroline Bird is an award-winning poet. Her first collection Looking Through Letterboxes was published in 2002 when she was 15. Her second collection, Trouble Came to the Turnip, was published in September 2006 to critical acclaim. Watering Can (2009) achieved a ‘Poetry Book Society Recommendation’ and her fourth collection, The Hat-Stand Union, (2013) was described by Simon Armitage as ‘spring-loaded, funny, sad and deadly.’ She won a major Eric Gregory Award in 2002 and was short-listed for the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize in 2001. She was short-listed for the Dylan Thomas Prize in 2008 and 2010. She was one of the five official poets at London Olympics 2012. Her poem, The Fun Palace, which celebrates the life and work of Joan Littlewood, is still erected on the Olympic Site outside the main stadium. She is also a playwright. Her new version of The Trojan Women premiered at the Gate Theatre in 2012. Her original play, Chamber Piece, was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn prize 2014, and toured as part of Lyric Hammersmith’s Secret Theatre season. In 2013, she was short-listed for Most Promising New Playwright at the Off-West-End Awards. She wrote a radical new adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz for Northern Stage in 2015. She is currently writing the book and lyrics for Dennis the Menace The Musical for the Old Vic.

    '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 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'. 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 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
Share this...
The Carcanet Blog PN Review 244: 'Perhaps only bad Poets become poets' read more Notes from the Dream House: 'The Shining' Review read more Judith Willson: Colour Standards read more Moser - PN Review read more Jane Draycott and Jenny Lewis: Recalibrating the Classics read more W.S Graham: Lives & Letters read more
Arts Council Logo
We thank the Arts Council England for their support and assistance in this interactive Project.
This website ©2000-2018 Carcanet Press Ltd