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Book of Days
Categories: 21st Century, British, Christianity, Second Collections, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (184 pages)
(Pub. Apr 2022)
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Apr 2022)
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Book of Days is a long poem recounting a journey along the popular pilgrimage route, or 'Camino' to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain. Animated by song and conversation, the poem is filled with the stories of those encountered along the way, combining a multi-voiced soundscape with vivid verbal sketches of landscape and architecture. The possibilities and contradictions of a twenty-first-century pilgrimage are revealed: inevitably informed by tourism and technology, yet offering new kinds of fellowship and connection in an age of individualism and rootlessness. Book of Days can be read as a travel memoir, a meditation on community and solitude, on friendship and sisterhood, and on spirituality. What pilgrims seek on setting out and what they discover as they go prove to be complementary.
Phoebe Power's debut collection, Shrines of Upper Austria (Carcanet, 2018), a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, was shortlisted for the 2018 T. S. Eliot Prize and won the 2018 Forward (Felix Dennis) Prize for Best First Collection. Book of Days extends the formal and thematic concerns of the first book, travelling a new set of paths but with the same restless curiosity and celebratory wonder.
Awards won by Phoebe Power Long-listed, 2019 The Michael Murphy Memorial Prize (Shrines of Upper Austria) Short-listed, 2019 Seamus Heaney First Collection Prize (Shrines of Upper Austria) Short-listed, 2019 Somerset Maugham Award from the Society of Authors (Shrines of Upper Austria) Short-listed, 2018 The T. S. Eliot Prize (Shrines of Upper Austria) Winner, 2018 The Forward (Felix Dennis) Prize for Best First Collection (Shrines of Upper Austria) Commended, 2018 Spring Poetry Book Society Recommendation (Shrines of Upper Austria)
'Book of Days is an open-hearted and humane exploration of faith and our often contradictory attitudes towards it. It is clever enough to hold the ambiguity, tension and curiosity carried in a journey towards belief but also rings with lived experience.'
Sarah Westcott, ARTEMISpoetry
'Phoebe Power's Book of Days is a glorious chaplet of fragmented pathways and possibilities.'
Andre Bagoo, The Poetry Society
'It is a celebration of being alive, of lives lived, of the world around us; it's soothing in its meditative comfort. It captures the beauty and difficulty of being...It's a narrative for the senses: I can hear the clack of walking poles, the clink of scallop shell, the quena flute and bagpipes; I can feel feel the rhythm of the salsa and jive and am refreshed by sweet peach juice.'
Harriet Mercer, The Arts Desk
Praise for Phoebe Power 'Phoebe Power 'is at her best when she displays what could be compared to Elizabeth Bishop's visual perfection.'
Antony Huen, The Compass
'Full of voices and European colour, Shrines of Upper Austria is indirect, building a compelling, troubling picture of a changing world.'
'A book which creeps up on you, then lingers stealthily, its language off-centre and personable, a zone of deaf-white.'
- Declan Ryan, The Poetry Review'Mixing poetry and prose, image and narrative, German and English, Power's poems are a celebration of creativity in unlikely places. Against a disquieting backdrop of mild winters and memories of snow, they invite us to question what it means to feel at once a stranger and at home.'
T.S Eliot Newsletter
'Power is a talented, observant writer.'
Dilys Wood, Artemis Poetry
'Her poems are both personal and aware of the wider political climate of our day.'
Tim Curtis, The Press
'Power personally conceives of the collection as a shrine: a gathering of objects, words and images important to someone, both as discrete objects and as a composition. This collage effect works very well in terms of keeping the reader's interest piqued, such that the book can be easily read in one sitting, for there is no telling what might lie around the bend at the mere turn of the page. I particularly admire Power's use of multilingualism throughout the book, with German and English echoing and augmenting one another within the same poem, and at times even within the same line or breath. Power is a poet who knows how to enter each poem with purpose, then to step off lightly when the moment is right. Her lyric portraits and prose poems are wry and knowing, with a keen attentiveness to the politics, both historic and current of our modern world. Apart from singular truths, Power also offers scintillating imagery and deeply memorable lines.'
Mary Jean Chan, Poetry School
'Phoebe Power's poetry is difficult... the best of it lingers long after reading and the plurality of voices she crams into so slender a volume commands respect'
'There's a great deal of action taking place in its use of voice, in its hair-trigger reflexes. Power has a real knack for speech, not only in poems in the reported, often ungrammatical and characterful English of the Austrian grandmother but in less obviously vocalised lyrics, too. There are some brilliant things here, Power's deftness repaying rereading until her cadences are tuned into fully...it makes a book which creeps up on you, then lingers stealthily, its language off-centre and personable.'
Declan Ryan, The Poetry Review
Leaf Arbuthnot, TLS
'Phoebe Power, in this accomplished, formally restless debut collection, yokes together some very surprising things: political musings, quasi-comic consumerist dilemmas, fascinated and bemused observations of Austrian custom, transcribed vocal fragments, family history, even - at one point - a murder mystery. You feel there is nothing her acute poetic eye cannot absorb. All this incorrigible plurality is united by an intelligence at once satirical and scrupulous, probing and tender. Hers is surely one of the freshest new voices to emerge in years.'
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