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Skies

Alison Brackenbury

Skies
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Categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, British, War writings, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (88 pages)
(Pub. Mar 2016)
9781784101800
£9.99 £8.99
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Mar 2016)
9781784101817
£7.99 £7.19
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  • Description
  • Author
  • Reviews
  • Skies is Alison Brackenbury’s ninth Carcanet collection. In these poems, Brackenbury sustains delicate proximities between war and love, joy and sadness, summer and winter. Starting out as the first trees ‘chatter into leaf’, the poems cross through July’s ‘dripping amber’ to January’s ‘false thaw’. The seasonal shift is reflected in the poet’s larder, its variegating hues and tastes: honeycomb, parsnips, apples, broad beans, sprouts, jams and spices summon an air of harvest. But it is also the seasons of life that concern Brackenbury here: the poet’s irrecoverable past, her youth ‘which I can never visit, like a star’, is at the same time the thing that never stops revisiting: in an unexpected letter from an old lover, in a half-remembered playground song. The poems in Skies are attuned to this musicality, to time’s echoes and refrains, the old errors that still ‘flower and flower’. Finally, it is the poet’s quiet conviction to savour life, to take seriously its succulent variety, that defines this collection: the poems attest to the special privileges of age: wisdom, self-sufficiency, a deepening patience with the world; the ability to be, as the poet says of an apple, ‘self-sweet’. The communal warmth of the kitchen finds its double in the exquisite loneliness of rising early, of hearing the barking of town foxes at dawn, or in the contemplation of a garden in autumn, its rows of hips swelled by rain, a rose ‘whose name I think means happiness’.

    Alison Brackenbury was born in Lincolnshire in 1953.She is descended from generations of skilled farm workers, including a dynasty of prize-winning shepherds. She won a scholarship to Oxford and left with a First in English. She then married and moved to a small townin Gloucestershire, where she combined writing with horse-keeping, ... read more
      'Brackenbury is a poet of strong feeling, deeply involved with her subject matter. That the work is cast with such craft and needs to do so little to draw attention to itself makes it all the more pleasurable.'
    Jonathan Davidson, Poetry Review
    'Alison Brackenbury's ninth collection of poems is a humble, often humorous, celebration of the everyday and the privileges of age.' - Harriet Barker, TLS 'It is her immediate response to the natural world happenings, the seasons, family and memories, and all life's incidentals that make her poems so easy to relate to.' - D. A. Prince, The North  'Alison Brackenbury loves, lives, hymns and rhymes the natural world and its people like no other poet.'
    Gillian Clarke, National Poet of Wales
    Praise for Alison Brackenbury 'In her powerful new collection Alison Brackenbury includes some eloquent farewells, beautifully and formally rendered in her clear and individual voice... Life, danger, risk, sorrow, accident and foreboding are all brought to a pertinent focus here. The poet examines many types of darkness and life’s difficulties in her illuminant language, and her unrivalled ability for unobtrusive but perfect form is ever-present.'
    Penelope Shuttle, ARTEMISpoetry
    'All Brackenbury's renowned qualities remain present in Thorpeness, such as her mastery of the lyric voice, her awareness of form, her ear for a line and her coupling of the natural and human world... Thorpeness invites the reader to reflect on how we face and express emotional truths in linguistic terms... a proper poet like Brackenbury never stops exploring and pushing their own boundaries.'

    Matthew Stewart, Wild Court Poetry
    'So many poems in this book begin with an item or a moment, flooding out to encompass a larger history. It's finely done, and Brackenbury proves again the enduring, treasure-like power of poetry, particularly by her expert pen.'

    Mab Jones, Buzz Mag

    'Thorpeness lays contemporary intonations across the patterns of folk song... Despite relishing past and present flavours, Brackenbury brings home the toughness of agricultural existence, rural poverty and life in service '

    William Wootten, Literary Review 

     'Brackenbury's range as a poet continues to grow, just as her stanza forms become simpler and more pared-down. A growing engagement with inherited English culture allows her to question unspoken and given assumptions.'
    M.C. Caseley, Agenda
    'Brackenbury conjures a poetry that brings those frightening things into plain daylight, a poetry of the active life, of thrift and graft, of spirits that when pressed resort to sanity.'
    John Bevis
    'Brackenbury makes rhyming seem easy in work that is clever, controlled, eccentric and thoroughly British in both subject matter and tone.'
    David Starkey, Santa Barbara Independent
    'Filigreed with images of light and dark throughout, it's evocative, amusing and utterly compelling.'
    Frances Lass, Radio Times
    'Glorious'
    Gillian Reynolds, Daily Telegraph
    'Enchants'
    The Times
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