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Crossing the Mirror Line
10% off all versions
Categories: 21st Century, British, First Collections, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (80 pages)
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Crossing the Mirror Line explores doubleness, the unsettling symmetries of mirrored reflections, the magician’s disorientating art that ‘makes nothing appear’. Artists’ mannequins and watchful children stand at an angle to the familiar-seeming world; an estuary blurs distinctions between land and sea.
Like the eighteenth-century artists’ landscape mirror that reconfigured the relationship between the viewer and what is viewed, the poems in Judith Willson’s first collection are concerned with the very act of looking, how it selects and transforms what is seen. Their landscapes are borders and boundaries, places shaped by the persistence of a past which still presses close to the surface, its meanings as unstable as the play of light. Objects disclose stories of their travel through ‘peopled time’: poems ‘reach through thick folds into pockets / for a letter or a glove’.
'It is a poetry of settlement, of attending to the artistic voices including your own, and contemplating their artefacts as is only possible in a civilised condition. How it might view such things as governmental cruelty or the history of brutality, is suggested through the careful development of figurative language.'
Peter Riley, Fortnightly Review
'She gets everything right: beautiful, fulsome vocabulary, arresting images, and perfect control of tone and metre. She is thoughtful and exact. These poems have clearly seen many reworkings. I'm reading this book greedily...I know I'll come back to it again.'
Charlotte Wetton, The Kindling Journal
'Judith Willson's taut, meditative, richly imagined debut collection ... is an on-going interplay between a speaking us and a silent them, between multiple artworks and their multiple subjects: not just one single crossing of the mirror line, but several.'
Stephen Grace, Eborakon
Judith's poem 'A Bone Flute' from her debut collection Crossing the Mirror Line was Guardian Poem of the Week on 8th January 2018
'Judith Willson's poetry takes us, in a dazzling flow of images, to lives which have the solidity of Central European fairytale with all the frightening reality of history behind them. Richly inventive in form and precise in tone, this is an amazingly assured debut collection.'
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