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Shrines of Upper Austria
RRP: GBP 7.99
ISBN: 978 1 784105 35 8
Categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, British, First Collections, War writings, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: February 2018
72 pages (print version)
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: Paperback, eBook (Kindle)
Digital access available through Exact Editions
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Longlisted for the 2019 Michael Murphy Memorial Prize
Shortlisted for the 2019 Seamus Heaney First Collection Prize
Shortlisted for the 2019 Somerset Maugham Award from the Society of Authors
Shortlisted for the 2018 T. S. Eliot Prize
Winner of the 2018 Forward (Felix Dennis) Prize for Best First Collection
A Poetry Book Society Spring 2018 Recommendation
Wandering in central Europe, a traveller observes and records a landscape of lakes, folk culture and uneasy histories. Phoebe Power’s Shrines of Upper Austria gathers numerous stories and perspectives, such as the fragmented narrative of an Austrian woman who married a British soldier after the Second World War, and the voices of schoolchildren and immigrants. Strange discoveries are made: a grave for two dead goats; a lantern procession on the night of Epiphany; a baby abandoned by a river; a homemade frog-puppet.
The poems are a collage of stories and histories, set in a variety of forms and registers. They are attentive to local detail, rich in the names of people and places – Marija, Omegepta, Eck 4 and the Loser Mountain. Mixing poetry and prose, image and narrative, German and English, Power’s poems are a celebration of creativity in unlikely places. Against a disquieting backdrop of mild winters and memories of snow, they invite us to question what it means to feel at once a stranger and at home.
Awards won by Phoebe Power Long-listed, 2019 The Michael Murphy Memorial Prize (Shrines of Upper Austria) Short-listed, 2019 Seamus Heaney First Collection Prize (Shrines of Upper Austria) Short-listed, 2019 Somerset Maugham Award from the Society of Authors (Shrines of Upper Austria) Short-listed, 2018 The T. S. Eliot Prize (Shrines of Upper Austria) Winner, 2018 The Forward (Felix Dennis) Prize for Best First Collection (Shrines of Upper Austria) Commended, 2018 Spring Poetry Book Society Recommendation (Shrines of Upper Austria)
Phoebe Power 'is at her best when she displays what could be compared to Elizabeth Bishop's visual perfection.'
Antony Huen, The Compass
'Full of voices and European colour, Shrines of Upper Austria is indirect, building a compelling, troubling picture of a changing world.'
'A book which creeps up on you, then lingers stealthily, its language off-centre and personable, a zone of deaf-white.'
- Declan Ryan, The Poetry Review'Mixing poetry and prose, image and narrative, German and English, Power's poems are a celebration of creativity in unlikely places. Against a disquieting backdrop of mild winters and memories of snow, they invite us to question what it means to feel at once a stranger and at home.'
T.S Eliot Newsletter
'Power is a talented, observant writer.'
Dilys Wood, Artemis Poetry
'Her poems are both personal and aware of the wider political climate of our day.'
Tim Curtis, The Press
'Power personally conceives of the collection as a shrine: a gathering of objects, words and images important to someone, both as discrete objects and as a composition. This collage effect works very well in terms of keeping the reader's interest piqued, such that the book can be easily read in one sitting, for there is no telling what might lie around the bend at the mere turn of the page. I particularly admire Power's use of multilingualism throughout the book, with German and English echoing and augmenting one another within the same poem, and at times even within the same line or breath. Power is a poet who knows how to enter each poem with purpose, then to step off lightly when the moment is right. Her lyric portraits and prose poems are wry and knowing, with a keen attentiveness to the politics, both historic and current of our modern world. Apart from singular truths, Power also offers scintillating imagery and deeply memorable lines.'
Mary Jean Chan, Poetry School
'Phoebe Power's poetry is difficult... the best of it lingers long after reading and the plurality of voices she crams into so slender a volume commands respect'
'There's a great deal of action taking place in its use of voice, in its hair-trigger reflexes. Power has a real knack for speech, not only in poems in the reported, often ungrammatical and characterful English of the Austrian grandmother but in less obviously vocalised lyrics, too. There are some brilliant things here, Power's deftness repaying rereading until her cadences are tuned into fully...it makes a book which creeps up on you, then lingers stealthily, its language off-centre and personable.'
Declan Ryan, The Poetry Review
Leaf Arbuthnot, TLS
'Phoebe Power, in this accomplished, formally restless debut collection, yokes together some very surprising things: political musings, quasi-comic consumerist dilemmas, fascinated and bemused observations of Austrian custom, transcribed vocal fragments, family history, even - at one point - a murder mystery. You feel there is nothing her acute poetic eye cannot absorb. All this incorrigible plurality is united by an intelligence at once satirical and scrupulous, probing and tender. Hers is surely one of the freshest new voices to emerge in years.'
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