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New Selected Poems
Edited by Rebecca Watts
Categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, British, Christianity, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Classics
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (218 pages)
(Pub. Nov 2019)
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Nov 2019)
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Elizabeth Jennings (1926-2001) is one of the twentieth century's best-loved and bestselling poets. As the author and editor of almost fifty books of poetry, criticism and theology, she received numerous awards, including the W.H. Smith Prize for her 1986 Collected Poems.
This New Selected Poems comes forty years on from her first Carcanet Selected, which it honours by retaining her original choices while adding a substantial number of poems from her several later collections.
Edited by Rebecca Watts, whose debut poetry collection was shortlisted for the 2017 Seamus Heaney Prize, this book is a new take on a poet whose human sympathy and religious faith are transferable and timeless.
Awards won by Rebecca Watts Short-listed, 2022 Gladstone's Library Writers in Residence Award (Red Gloves) Short-listed, 2017 The Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry First Collection Prize (The Met Office Advises Caution )
'Offers a broad selection of her best work ... in all its tenderness, insight and acute, stepping-on-ice vulnerability'
Michael Glover, The Tablet.
Praise for Elizabeth Jennings 'Anyone who likes poetry will love it if you get them Carcanet's Collected Poems of Elizabeth Jennings. It costs a bit but you do get well over 1,000 poems, with barely a duff one; heck, you could even give it to someone who doesn't like poetry, and suggest it will change their mind.'
Nicholas Lezard, the Guardian, 1st December, 2012
'But there is no sterility here: I defy you to read "A Living Death" and not be on the verge of tears by the end of it ("I am caught up / Within a death that does not die") This is a supremely dippable-into book. Its bulk is liberating, not intimidating.'
Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian, Tuesday 3rd April, 2012.
'it contains some of the finest lyric poetry of the 20th century'
Anne Stevenson, The Sunday Times, September 14th 1986
Praise for Rebecca Watts 'The language is clever, crisp, cutting - perfect.'
David Starkey, California Review of Books
'Such deliberate and careful contrariness is Watts all over, and it is, I think, unique in contemporary poetry.'
Chris Edgoose, Woodbee Poet
'Watt's poems are reliably well made whatever their constitution (list, prose, legalese)... Her lauded first collection, The Met Office Advises Caution (2016), had the same precision of sense and subject matter: attentive nature poems alongside special interest topics... Watt's methodical mind is also an open one'
Kathryn Maris, Times Literary Supplement
'...the knowingness contained in these poems is exhilarating, their honesty disarming and mesmerising. Watts delivers her feminist thesis through a deft array of forms, generating a bewildering range of emotional tone. A tour de force.'
James Fountain, The Blue Nib
'I love the subtle, hidden rhythms in these poems, the way words strike out and connect in ways that are understated and suggestive. The perception in the poems is at times light, witty and smart but it can also be concentrated, filled with controlled intensity, like Sibelius's symphonies. These poems insist on the complexity of things'
'There is something darkly unsettling at the heart of this impressive collection, a seductive, dangerous glimpse at the nature of ourselves. An image seen through half glances and reflections. The poems describe a world of contingency, both fragile and beguiling. It's all we have. The poet shows us the limits of our bond with it, of our communion with the gravity of existence, of nature and friendship. You want to hold on, to embrace, and apprehend, but your grip is never strong enough, or your sense of knowing deep enough. There is always loss. The world seems forever other, beyond, out of grasp. 'In the future it will be different,' the poet writes, hopefully; well maybe it will, but you fear it is wishful thinking. There's heartbreak here, but also triumph, moments of epiphany that offer hope and optimism. These marvellous poems have a freshness of language and imagery that gives you goose bumps. Formally elegant and precise, Watts's lyrical voice is vividly lit, and richly evocative. Red Gloves is a deeply moving collection, profound and insightful: a true tonic for these superficial, facile times.'
'The title poem gently alerts us to the shared vulnerability of man, creature and environment. Brief encounters and deep connections with animals are perceptively drawn, while the weaker links between people are pinpointed with needle-sharp satire.'
Financial Times Best Books of 2016 'The Met Office Advises Caution is, without doubt, a deft take on nature poetry, but we would be remiss to read it simply as that. Watts has not only begun reworking the tradition for the present era, but has also started to fill it with a life and range that helps us make new sense of the past.'
The London Magazine 'Well edited, deceptively simple, quietly shrewd. A truly lovely group of articulate, intelligible, clean, clear-sighted poems, which despite their unassuming exteriors, belie the scuttle of enigmatic presences beneath.'
Will Barrett, The Poetry School Books of the Year 2016
'Humour, philosophy, feminism and the natural world might not necessarily make for comfortable poetry bedfellows, but [Watts] has them fitting together perfectly. The contents of wheelie bins, Zen trees, a suffragette audaciously mounting a penny farthing bicycle, athletic tracks and the fate of country moles - the poems offer levity and depth, always revealing a ''clear hard road, made for going along''.'
Sarah Hall, Guardian Best Books of 2016
'Rebecca Watts's poems adopt strange and illuminating vantage points - the bird's-eye view of a hawk, or a Victorian lady surveying a street from a penny-farthing - to do poetry's work of telling the truth, but telling it slant. Watts is particularly attuned to those points where human and non-human creatures meet and interact, and writes with intelligence and incision.'
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