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Swimming Between Islands

Charlotte Eichler

Cover of Swimming Between Islands by Charlotte Eichler
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Categories: 21st Century, British, First Collections, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (72 pages)
(Pub. Feb 2023)
£11.99 £10.79
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(Pub. Feb 2023)
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  • Description
  • Author
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • Shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney First Collection Poetry Prize 2024

    Swimming Between Islands
    , Charlotte Eichler's first collection, has its own distinctive weathers, atmospheres and fauna. Egg collectors, moth trappers, hermits, cuttlefish, pyjama sharks and bloody henry starfish all play a part. This islanded world is the starting point for poems that explore how we try to connect with each other – despite misunderstanding, family silences and unwanted legacies.

    'Read Charlotte Eichler's poems slowly, so that you can really take note of them, because they're astonishing,' said Laura Scott, responding to Eichler's poems in New Poetries VIII. Anthony Vahni Capildeo characterised her first pamphlet as 'modern pastoral, not nostalgic, and well beyond the ordinary domestic lyric'. Swimming Between Islands gathers this work with a substantial collection of new poems.

    In Eichler's poems, the first person singular is relational, social; it refuses to mark one consciousness neatly off from another. The poems’ perspective is often plural, a 'we' which is one minute a couple considering marriage, the next, childhood friends divining the future from ladybirds and four-leafed clovers. The reader is invited to come close, and then right into the centre of the poem; the book progresses towards ever wilder, more isolated places in Scotland, Scandinavia, Russia, Alaska, where 'we are found: / the gannets are white flares / hitting the water / under a fishbone sky'.
    Charlotte Eichler was born in Hertfordshire and studied English Literature and Russian at the University of Nottingham. She has an MA in Norse and Viking Studies, also from Nottingham. Her debut pamphlet, Their Lunar Language, was published by Valley Press in 2018 and a selection of her work was featured ... read more
    Awards won by Charlotte Eichler Short-listed, 2024 The Seamus Heaney First Collection Poetry Prize (Swimming Between Islands)
    'Charlotte Eichler's Swimming Between Islands is the kind of book that reads you with patient and exquisite attention. Or perhaps it teaches you to read it, which is to say to see and listen and feel your way toward layers of clarity, as when fog lifts from the shore and you see yourself. Which is to say these poems build a world where inner and outer landscapes converse, blur and converge; emotionally astute and ecologically attuned, they change your mind.'
    Jenny Browne, Seamus Heaney First Collection Poetry Prize Judge
    'The pyrotechnic brilliance of Eichler's poetry resides in leap-making, a fearless embracing of the unlimited possibilities of form and style... there is a diaphanous quality to the poet's thinking that superimposes a luminous film over her tableux.'
    Steve Whitaker, Yorkshire Times
    'Read Charlotte Eichler's poems slowly, so that you can really take note of them, because they're astonishing,'
    Laura Scott
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