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Categories: 21st Century, British
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (64 pages)
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Shortlisted for the 2019 Ledbury Forte Poetry Prize for Second Collections
Sarajevo Roses is Rory Waterman’s second collection of poems. From the start we are in the company of a poet on the move. On sleeper trains, in cars and on foot, Waterman takes us into Mediterranean Europe, to Palma’s Bellver Castle, to Venice, to Krujë, to the Italian ghost-town Craco, and to St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, where ‘selfie-sticks dance before us at the altar’. Sarajevo’s ‘neatened muddle of terracotta and concrete’ is twinned with the ‘church spires and rain-bright roofs’ of the poet’s former hometown, Lincoln.
The Sarajevo rose of the book’s title – a mortar crater filled with red resin, in remembrance – is less an overarching symbol here than one example of the past inscribed upon the present – culturally in our architecture, individually on our bodies – and of the instinct to preserve wounds as a mark of respect, or warning. Surrounded by the war-shaped, memorial landscapes of Europe, the poet is faced by those smaller wars and memorials one carries within, marks left by lovers, friends, relations, and past selves.
Awards won by Rory Waterman Short-listed, 2014 Seamus Heaney Award (Tonight the Summer's Over) Commended, 2014 Poetry Book Society Recommendation (Tonight the Summer's Over) Short-listed, 2019 The Ledbury Forte Poetry Prize for Second Collections
'Very few poets can bring to the lives of others the same devout attention we tend to bestow upon ourselves: Rory Waterman is just such a poet. Whether their site of meditation is an abandoned colliery or a much-marketed urban vista, the exquisite lyrics of Sarajevo Roses are imbued with mindfulness. Suppleness of poetic line matches suppleness of spirit.'
Judges, Ledbury Forte Poetry Prize for Second Collection
'In this book, personal, emotional wounds are memorialised... the poems are the red roses that these moments become, marking a distance between selves, acknowledging them as landmarks in a psychological landscape.'
Vicki Husband, The Compass
'a volume that balances both wit and wisdom'
Kate Noakes, the North
'Waterman's work extends out and beyond any dangerously neat equations or notions of 'home' and 'self'; with him, it is in the settings of Europe's past and future. The reader visits Iceland, Palma's Bellver Castle, Venice, Krujë, the Italian ghost-town Craco, St Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, and in all the travellings we become more and more aware of the precarious fragility of human 'settlements' in all senses.'
Peter Carpenter, Under The Radar
'Waterman is a fine craftsman and this is a thing most needful in the collection's journeyings through 'industrial dereliction' and the painful re-calibrations of a 'post empire' experience. Re-imaginings of spaces for leisure are met by a poet who is at home with formal variations, rhyme and meter.'
Peter Carpenter, Under the Radar
'The collection is marked by a sense that the world is indifferent to us, both as species and individuals, that time is slippery and fast-moving...For all his often regular metrics and traditional craft, these are not conservative poems... It's a consistently 'political' book.'
Declan Ryan, Poetry London
'The world is a slightly better place for the existence of this book. I do not write that lightly.'
Peter Pegnall, Ploughshares
Praise for Rory Waterman
'Rory Waterman writes poems of the kind there'll always be a need for poems that require skill to make but don't insist on it, that combine keen-eyed observation and immediately graspable shades of feeling in a memorable way. Waterman's is a very appealing voice, laconic, unillusioned and vulnerable. His world is a recognisable and convincing one, his rueful, sometimes harsh sincerity is palpable, and he deserves to be read by anyone to whom these things still matter.'
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