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A Map Towards Fluency
RRP: GBP 7.99
ISBN: 978 1 784108 41 0
Categories: 21st Century, British, First Collections, Language, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: June 2019
112 pages (print version)
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: Paperback, eBook (Kindle)
A Map Towards Fluency, Lisa Kelly’s first collection, considers words, the power they impart, the power their absence withholds. Forgetting, mis-hearing, mis-remembering all challenge the imagination to find ways round and ways through. ‘The idea of fluency interests me – and whether we can ever claim fluency in any language.’ Her mother speaking Danish – which she cannot herself understand – is familiar and yet alienating: how Danish can she herself be when she cannot hear her mother’s tongue with understanding? Her own attempts with British Sign Language are another challenge, a form of translation of sense in the absence of sound. ‘I have to work hard to listen and this requires me to place you to my right side, to watch your lips, to watch your hands, to watch your gestures. How can form not matter?’ The poems touch on these themes in various ways, not least in what they do with form.
'For me, a great many debut collections tend to have a lot of filler in them, but not so with Kelly. The core strength of the work is impressively maintained from beginning to end. There are more ideas per page here than most collections of poetry could only dream of and it will be an absolute travesty if A Map Towards Fluency doesn't win a major prize in the coming year.'
Richard Skinner, Write Out Loud
'informed and thematically complex... [Lisa Kelly] love[s] every aspect of writing poetry: the language which forms it, the literature which precedes it, the art which inspires it, and the lives which make it personal and accessible.'
Emma Desphande, The London Magazine
'Lisa Kelly searchingly translates for us the intimate connections between language and the body, between symbol and experience.'
Jane Draycott 'Lisa Kelly's poems are every bit attentive as they are inventive. Whether on hearing and deafness, or amongst oysters and aphids, she writes with an instinctive and joyful aplomb, which is unafraid of stretching the possibilities of language itself.'
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