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Categories: 21st Century, British, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (72 pages)
(Pub. Jun 2020)
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Jun 2020)
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In this follow-up to her acclaimed debut The Met Office Advises Caution, Rebecca Watts observes and tests the limits of humanity's engagement with the non-human. By turns lyrical and narrative, the poems examine familiar subjects - environmental crisis, hawks, hospitals, the sea, barbecues, flowers, Emily Dickinson - only to find their subjects staring, sometimes fighting, back. Nature and nurture, equally red in tooth and claw, power a book-long sparring match between the overthinking poet and the ever-thoughtless universe, between the craft's isolation and the world's irrepressible variety. Gloves on and gloves off, the poet's hands destroy and build, gather and scatter, caress and strike.
Awards won by Rebecca Watts Winner, 2022 Gladstone's Library Writers in Residence Award (Red Gloves) Joint winner, 2019 Hawthornden Fellowship
Short-listed, 2018 Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative
Short-listed, 2017 The Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry First Collection Prize (The Met Office Advises Caution )
'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
'Watts'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... Watts'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.'
Praise for Rebecca Watts '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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