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Salvation Jane

Greta Stoddart

Imprint: Anvil Press Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (64 pages)
(Pub. Aug 2008)
Out of Stock
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    In the Kitchen

    I’m reading and reading this line
    about the horse ‘living outside of time’.
    Surely not. Surely the horse is deep in,
    up to his neck in time.

    Horse now is horse then.
    Horse always with his big teeth,
    his wide saddle-warm back,
    the swivel and twitch of his ears;

    horse felled to one side,
    the thick flick of his tail;
    the calm and the startle
    in his deep brown eyes.

    All this without him knowing
    which is like time not knowing
    what it is, or knowing only
    what it is as it happens

    in the silence of the kitchen;
    the clock in the silence of the kitchen,
    the horse clipclopping past the window
    open in the silence of the kitchen.

    In the title poem of her second collection, ‘Salvation Jane’ (a purple thistle-like weed), Stoddart suggests that in naming something we empower it to fulfil our idea of its meaning and purpose. The poem typifies, as Vernon Scannell wrote, ‘the way her poems display a pleasing fusion of intelligence and sensuous perception with the knack of finding the right rhythmic pattern to convey it’. At the heart of many of these poems lies an apprehension of things being lost or destroyed – whether a child or an illusion, faith or the very earth we live on. The world changes, too, when someone enters it. Greta Stoddart’s poems of motherhood are intense double-edged celebrations; as grief has its consolations, so joy is rarely entire. There is an increasing scope and depth to her language as Stoddart seeks to explore paradoxes in a collection of original and distinctive poems.

    Greta Stoddart was born in Oxfordshire. Her first collection At Home in the Dark (Anvil) was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and won the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize in 2002. Her second book, Salvation Jane (Anvil), was shortlisted for the Costa Book Award 2008. She was also ... read more
    Awards won by Greta Stoddart Short-listed, 2016 Roehampton Poetry Prize (Alive Alive O)
    Short-listed, 2012 Forward Prize for Best Individual Poem  Short-listed, 2008 Costa Poetry Award (Salvation Jane) Winner, 2002 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize (At Home in the Dark) Short-listed, 2001 Waterstone's Forward Poetry Prize for Best First Collection (At Home in the Dark)
    'As a poet, Stoddart is not in the business of offering solutions; the closest she comes to doing so is obliquely, through the bright snap of the language in which she presents her dilemmas, the irresistible clarity of images so right they deliver an almost physical connection, joining poem and reader...This is a collection that thrives not on solutions, but on endless, boundless possibilities.'
    Sarah Crown, The Guardian, 2008

    Praise for Greta Stoddart  '€˜Greta Stoddart'€™s At Home in the Dark is a powerful first collection that sheds light not only on the darkness of home but also reveals much that's unsettling about the further afield. With their clear, percussive rhythms and their dramatic poise and timing, these poems dare and lure the reader to follow her prescient, unflinching gaze.'
    Jamie McKendrick
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