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RRP: GBP 7.99
ISBN: 978 1 784103 39 2
Categories: 21st Century
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: July 2017
84 pages (print version)
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (Kindle), Paperback, eBook (EPUB)
Digital access available through Exact Editions
A 2017 Poetry Book Society Recommendation.
Following her groundbreaking 2014 début An Aviary of Small Birds (‘technically perfect poems of winged heartbreak’ – Observer), Karen McCarthy Woolf returns with Seasonal Disturbances.
Set against a backdrop of ecological and emotional turbulence, these poems are charged yet meditative explorations of nature, the city, and the self. A sinister CEO presides over a dystopian hinterland where private detectives investigate crimes against hollyhocks; Halcyon is discovered as a dead kingfisher, washed up on an Italian beach. Lyrical and inventive, McCarthy Woolf’s poems test classic and contemporary forms, from a disrupted zuihitsu that considers her relationship with water, to the landay, golden shovel, and gram of &.
As a fifth-generation Londoner and daughter of a Jamaican émigré, McCarthy Woolf makes a variety of linguistic subversions that critique the rhetoric of the British class system. Political as they may be, these poems are not reportage: they aim to inspire what the author describes as an ‘activism of the heart, where we connect to and express forces of renewal and love’.
Cover Illustration: Nuri R. Melgarejo
Awards won by Karen McCarthy Woolf Commended, 2017 Poetry Book Society Recommendation. (Seasonal Disturbances ) Short-listed, 2015 Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize
(An Aviary of Small Birds) Short-listed, 2015 Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection
(An Aviary of Small Birds)
'This is a book which goes beyond invention to intervention, offering hybrid forms through which to apprehend the world. Consider its 'couplings', which lineate and striate 'pre-existing prose' with response lines to 'create a new lyric narrative' (as the notes elucidate). This is true to how our minds reverberate with information, with the assimilated otherness of alien texts. It does not rest at passive record or academic critique of such an internal state. It makes music, love, and rapture'
Vahni Capildeo in The Compass Magazine
'Witty, provocative and lyrically accomplished.'
'For all its internationalism, McCarthy Woolf's poetry engages with the local and the personal. Reading Seasonal Disturbances is like picking up a London A-Z and finding it's a new map of the world.'
Karen's poem 'Outside' from Seasonal Disturbances was Guardian Poem of the Week, 25th December 2017
'Seasonal Disturbances is an unclassifiable book, revolutionary in its engagement with form, stunning in its intersectional politics, and an extraordinary achievement that should give the selectors of major poetry prize lists cold sweats for neglecting it. It will break you, in a good way. Truth hurts.'
The Poetry School Books of the Year 2017
'A fine antidote to Brexit delusions and certainties: London-watching and form-reshaping, unpredictable and casually intense.'
Carol Rumens, Best Poetry Books of 2017, The Guardian
'A masterclass in structure.'
'Seasonal Disturbances might be strange, but it's also a brilliant selection of poems [...] It's a collection that teaches you something about human beings as well as yourself.'
The Poetry School 'Formally ambitious...big-idea poems made up of bite-size insights and ironies that establish political anger and ecological anxiety.'
The Sunday Times
Praise for Karen McCarthy Woolf 'I loved Karen McCarthy Woolf's technically perfect poems of winged heartbreak'
Maggie Gee, The Observer - The New Review, 29.11.2015. '[McCarthy Woolf has] a powerful command of form and rhythm.'
Alan Brownjohn, Poetry Review
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