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Categories: 21st Century, British, First Collections, Irish
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (132 pages)
(Pub. Jan 2023)
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Jan 2023)
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Shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize 2023
More Sky is a remarkable and remarkably various debut collection from Eric Gregory Award winner, Joe Carrick-Varty, tracking the ways in which experience of addiction and domestic violence shape a life.
Carrick-Varty approaches difficult material with great skill and poise: here we find stunning individual lyrics, with an eye for the vivid and surreal; surprising sequences which use Buddhism and Greek myth and the life of coral to refract the poems' interests; and the astonishing sixty-three page long poem ‘sky doc’ which meditates on suicide, and its retrospective haunting of every corner of its speaker’s life.
Awards won by Joe Carrick-Varty Short-listed, 2023 The T.S. Eliot Prize
'The form has its own internal logic with strong images, interpreted through confessional moments and set in motion by the conventional narrative phase, allowing each poem to transcend its origin... More Sky is a tour-de-force of image and figurative language.'
Tom Branfoot, Poetry London
'These poems are well-crafted, brave, and at times painfully honest... This is a powerful, thought-provoking collection.'
Mary Mulholland, The Alchemy Spoon
'These sparsely written, surreal poems address class, domesticity and cycles of violence with a lightness of touch that allows them to strike surprise blows to the solar plexus... In spite of these darker musings, this is a collection imbued with belief in the imagination's power to heal, and in the strength of alternate endings where, on a sister's graduation, "my dad who never gets to see this/ booms her name and turns every middle class head".'
Jessica Traynor, Irish Times
'The poems are wide-ranging in scope and tone: replete with lyrical wanderings and wonderings that allow for audacious leaps of image and colliding realities.'
Shalini Sengupta, Poetry Book Society
'The poems in More Sky perform as one sustained hymn, socialising the reader around an environment where material class, artefact, image and mood all work to resist each other. Though such a fraught and contradictory space, the psychology of Carrick-Vartyâs verse asks us to consider the ways addiction, fatherhood and the longings of a son coalesce to form a deep and ineffable yearning. These are tender, interior poems that contain all the hallmarks of realism while being masterfully set against an image-range both expansive and unhinged. Carrick-Varty has created something wholly individual and inspired with this collection.'
'Whatever I expected as I sat to read it for the first time, I failed to anticipate More Sky. How could I have known how complete it would be, how achieved? These poems are loaded with frightening beauties, lines and ideas that inhabit one - rather than merely stopping by for a brief visit - from the moment they're encountered, and together these poems accomplish an even rarer thing: They make a particular, personal story felt by the reader as if lived by the reader, which is better and more difficult than diluting a story by making it universal. More Sky is a debut as strong as any debut I've read in years.'
'These poems make up a memory system. Each by each, they recover a father-son journey through drink and time. Now brutally, like broken glass under foot. Now gently, like being carried over the jagged edges. Cutting and healing. Joe Carrick-Varty writes with a sharp eye and a strong hand.'
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