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The Hotel Eden
RRP: GBP 7.99
ISBN: 978 1 784106 11 9
Categories: 21st Century, American, Canadian, War writings, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: August 2018
80 pages (print version)
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: Paperback, eBook (Kindle)
‘Madame Martin will throw back her shutters at eight…’ With these words Beverley Bie Brahic opens The Hotel Eden, a book about seeing the world. She moves through – Paris, the French provinces, the American west coast – in the spirit of a flâneur, going about her daily life alert to the variety and mystery of human experience: the soup kitchens, the Luxembourg Gardens and the Latin Quarter, the refugees, works of art and areas of damage. The title poem pays a debt to Joseph Cornell, the master of the assemblage, whose ‘The Hotel Eden’ discloses a stuffed parrot and other objects under glass. The eye – the poem – assembles them but cannot tell their intended story. It tells a story all the same. ‘On the tip of God’s tongue, the bird waits to be named.’ This is a book of revelatory indirections, of unexpected moons, creatures, passions, rituals and histories, of days rich in disclosures and in hints of revelation. One of the presiding spirits of her book is the Latin poet Horace, whose prayer she renders as her own:
Grant me, Apollo, calm and contentment,
'I love the way that the unworldly and extraordinary is accessed through its relationship to the mundane, which, by a kind of artists' version of Newton's law, gains something unworldly and extraordinary in return'
Philip Rush, The North
'...it is [the] attention to the everyday stuff of life that makes Brahic's poetry shine... simple, painterly, offering the same 'abundance' for the reader that Beverley Bie Brahic finds in her pears.'
Suzannah V. Evans, The Times Literary Supplement.
'Brahic's aesthetic works effectively to nurture a sense of instability that dismantles expectation... leaving the answers to the questions at the foot of the reader... both daring and delicate.'
Maryam Hessavi, The Manchester Review
'A sharp and tender act of assemblage'
Maryam Hessavi, The Manchester Review
'Bie Brahic has an eye for the telling detail...yet she is never satisfied with the simple description.'
David Starkey, Santa Barbara Independent
'The poems in this collection are energised by themes of temporal and spatial progression. Seasons move on with a dream-like quality, the warm, hazy summer poems of the first part slipping into the cooler tones of autumn and winter as the poetic voice moves from place to place. Plants grow, bees buzz and the rural, provincial and domestic become transcendent. An exquisitely poetic sequence.'
PBS Autumn Bulletin 2018
'Fearlessly physical and observant (John Updike's fiction comes to mind), Brahic carries on writing where many poets would stop, and earns that space.'
Carol Rumens, Poetry Review
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