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RRP: GBP 8.79
Available from: Buy now from Amazon
ISBN: 978 1 784109 41 7
Categories: 21st Century, British, Irish
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: May 2020
72 pages (print version)
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: Paperback, eBook (EPUB), eBook (PDF)
Sweet Nothings is about absences, how they tempt us, and sometimes what they make us do. An absence is a conjuration, not palpably present in longing, imagination or dream. We are lured on by absences, and how they call to us, in Thomas Hardy's memorable phrase.
The poems sometimes come in sequences; always they are in dialogue with one another, responding, echoing - within and between the book's two sections. At times, the leitmotifs are apparently personal, exploring divisions and painful losses. But we also encounter the largely invented academic Dr Bob Pintle, promoted at work since his cameo in Waterman's previous book, an anti-hero of the modern university system. In this book we also find the zero football score, the zero scores in life's more significant conflicts, and an obverse: the desire to settle at nothing, or for nothing less than what life might offer. Sweet Nothings is in fact a book of hopes and passions - quiet and lyrical at times, but also fiercely witty and bold.
Awards won by Rory Waterman Short-listed, 2014 Seamus Heaney Award (Tonight the Summer's Over) Commended, 2014 Poetry Book Society Recommendation (Tonight the Summer's Over) Short-listed, 2019 The Ledbury Forte Poetry Prize for Second Collections
Praise for Rory Waterman 'Very few poets can bring to the lives of others the same devout attention we tend to bestow upon ourselves: Rory Waterman is just such a poet. Whether their site of meditation is an abandoned colliery or a much-marketed urban vista, the exquisite lyrics of Sarajevo Roses are imbued with mindfulness. Suppleness of poetic line matches suppleness of spirit.'
Judges, Ledbury Forte Poetry Prize for Second Collection
'In this book, personal, emotional wounds are memorialised... the poems are the red roses that these moments become, marking a distance between selves, acknowledging them as landmarks in a psychological landscape.'
Vicki Husband, The Compass
'a volume that balances both wit and wisdom'
Kate Noakes, the North
'Waterman's work extends out and beyond any dangerously neat equations or notions of 'home' and 'self'; with him, it is in the settings of Europe's past and future. The reader visits Iceland, Palma's Bellver Castle, Venice, Krujë, the Italian ghost-town Craco, St Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, and in all the travellings we become more and more aware of the precarious fragility of human 'settlements' in all senses.'
Peter Carpenter, Under The Radar
'Waterman is a fine craftsman and this is a thing most needful in the collection's journeyings through 'industrial dereliction' and the painful re-calibrations of a 'post empire' experience. Re-imaginings of spaces for leisure are met by a poet who is at home with formal variations, rhyme and meter.'
Peter Carpenter, Under the Radar
'The collection is marked by a sense that the world is indifferent to us, both as species and individuals, that time is slippery and fast-moving...For all his often regular metrics and traditional craft, these are not conservative poems... It's a consistently 'political' book.'
Declan Ryan, Poetry London
'The world is a slightly better place for the existence of this book. I do not write that lightly.'
Peter Pegnall, Ploughshares
'Rory Waterman writes poems of the kind there'll always be a need for poems that require skill to make but don't insist on it, that combine keen-eyed observation and immediately graspable shades of feeling in a memorable way. Waterman's is a very appealing voice, laconic, unillusioned and vulnerable. His world is a recognisable and convincing one, his rueful, sometimes harsh sincerity is palpable, and he deserves to be read by anyone to whom these things still matter.'
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