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The Occupant

Jane Draycott

9781784103002
10% off eBook (EPUB)
Categories: 21st Century, British, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (64 pages)
(Pub. Nov 2016)
9781784103002
£9.99 £8.99
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(Pub. Oct 2016)
9781784103019
£7.99 £7.19
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  • Description
  • Author
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • ‘I watch you sweat,
    I watch you sleep. Some far and submarine light
    keeps you swimming. In the blueberry bloom
    lungs loosen, the pulse is in retreat,
    speech is unlearned and falls in spools
    of oil-shine tape along the mineshaft floor.’


    Following the success of her T. S. Eliot Prize-nominated Over and award-winning translation of the medieval Pearl, Jane Draycott returns with her fourth collection of poems, The Occupant. With a rhythmic subtlety and metrical poise that have become hallmarks of her verse, Draycott hints at the existence of a world of dreamlike clarity underneath our own. In the National Gallery a gardener cuts away the flower from a still-life canvas to replant in his own garden; in an abandoned sanatorium a grand piano dreams of the voices and music of days past, ‘rose-spotted paintwork peeling softly, half-moon fanlights rising, sinking’. At the heart of these imagined scenes the long title poem, ‘The Occupant’, draws on scenes proposed but left unwritten in Martinus Nijhoff’s Awater. In the stifling summer air, Draycott’s occupant trawls the streets of an unnamed city whose ‘dead lanes keep their silence’, where ‘the frail expire and pale dogs whimper’, as its police post notices: ‘Missing: Have you seen this wind?’
    Jane Draycott’s previous collections from Carcanet Press include The Occupant (Poetry Book Society Recommendation), Over (T S Eliot Prize shortlist), Prince Rupert’s Drop (Forward Prize shortlist) and her 2011 prize-winning translation of the the medieval dream-elegy Pearl. Other collections, from Two Rives Press, include Storms Under the Skin: Selected Poems ... read more
    Awards won by Jane Draycott Winner, 2023 A Cholomondeley Award
     'Draycott uses the language of dreams to make the quotidian illusionary, like a vapour captured in lexicon. Sleeplessness haunts the collection... Homeliness is pushed, just, over to Freud's unhomely conclusions. The dream world, enticing and enlightening as he might have it to be, proves no more accommodating than our own.'
    Lucy Cheseldine, STAND
    'Her searching curiosity and wonderful assurance make her an impeccable and central poetic intelligence.'
    Penelope Shuttle, Manhattan Review
    Praise for Jane Draycott 'These are approachable poems, expressed in lucid language, and studded with clear images. They are finely wrought, knitting form and sound patterns beautifully, but holding these formal properties lightly... The Kingdom is moving, intriguing. It's a place I know I will keep returning too, to lose an hour our two.'
    Emma Simon, The Friday Poem
    'Draycott is rightly regarded as a poet of sensitivity and lyrical control. But these are not airy poems. Their mysteries are well served by the muscularity of her descriptions. Even the briefest poems here offer richly textured, shimmering language.'
    Maya Popa, TLS
    'These poems, especially when read in order in the collection as a whole, are deeply unsettling; yet there is love in them, and hope. There is also great tenderness and an awareness of a beauty that can still be valued in the fragility of the moment and the world.'
    Kathleen Bell, The High Window
     'I should make clear from the outset that it's a collection I like very much... This is a collection that speaks to the reader's doubts, uncertainties, fears, death-thoughts; there is no single reading and that, for me, makes it stronger... It anticipates the future, as art should.'
    London Grip
    'A host of subtle and spellbinding effects, testament to Dryacott's skill as a poet as well as her grasp of grief's physcological realities'
    Theophilus Kewk, The North


    'When Jane Draycott read, for the first time, sections of her exquisitely modulated translation of the 'Pearl' poem, its echoing character seemed to transport me from one cultural space to another... I came as close to hearing the 'Pearl' poet's voice as I am ever likely to be.' - Stella Halkyard, PN Review 'Draycott's version is compellingly human.'
    Lachlan Mackinnon, Times Literary Supplement
     'I've waited some time to read something this intelligent, this sensuous and this crystalline. In fact The Night Tree is the finest collection I've read for ages.'
    Guardian
     'The language is marvellously modulated yet stirringly wild. Draycott has carried over into our tamer, tired world a strong, strange sense of how original, gorgeous and natural this old poem can be.'

     David Morley, Poetry Review


    'Draycott's version is compellingly human.'
    Lachlan Mackinnon, Times Literary Supplement
    'Draycott's version is compellingly human.'
    Lachlan Mackinnon, Times Literary Supplement
    'When Jane Draycott read, for the first time, sections of her exquisitely modulated translation of the 'Pearl' poem, its echoing character seemed to transport me from one cultural space to another... I came as close to hearing the 'Pearl' poet's voice as I am ever likely to be.' - Stella Halkyard, PN Review 'Draycott's version is compellingly human.'
    Lachlan Mackinnon, Times Literary Supplement
    'The language is marvellously modulated yet stirringly wild. Draycott has carried over into our tamer, tired world a strong, strange sense of how original, gorgeous and natural this old poem can be.' - David Morley, Poetry Review
    'When Jane Draycott read, for the first time, sections of her exquisitely modulated translation of the 'Pearl' poem, its echoing character seemed to transport me from one cultural space to another... I came as close to hearing the 'Pearl' poet's voice as I am ever likely to be.' - Stella Halkyard, PN Review 'Draycott's version is compellingly human.'
    Lachlan Mackinnon, Times Literary Supplement
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