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The Owner of the Sea
Three Inuit Stories Retold
Categories: 21st Century, British, Translation
Imprint: Carcanet Classics
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (188 pages)
(Pub. Jun 2021)
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Jun 2021)
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A The Scotsman Book of the Year 2021
In re-telling the Inuit stories included here, Richard Price opens out remarkable northern vistas and unfamiliar narratives, strange gods and unforgettable characters. Carol Rumens described Price as a poet who is 'brilliant quietly: inventive, sometimes dazzling, but never merely showy': precisely the talents for rendering, rather than appropriating these great story-cycles of Inuit culture.
Here we learn of 'Sedna the Sea Goddess' and 'Kiviuq the Hunter', the central protagonists of the book's remarkable stories. They are rich in extraordinary incident. In Sedna's world women can marry dogs and have half-puppy, half-human children; birds beat their wings so hard they call down a storm on a fugitive kayak; walruses originate from... well that would be telling. Each story-cycle abounds in natural wonder, celebrating our creaturely relations with our fellow inhabitants of land and sea. 'The Old Woman Who Changed Herself into a Man', a short narrative, bridges the major sequences, telling the story of an older woman and a younger one who become lovers in the isolation of their remote home.
Awards won by Richard Price Short-listed, 2017 Saltire Society Poetry Book of the Year Award (Moon for Sale) Winner, 2013 Creative Scotland SMIT Poetry Book of the Year
(Small World) Short-listed, 2010 Scottish Arts Council Poetry Book of the Year Award
(Rays) Short-listed, 2008 Scottish Arts Council Poetry Book of the Year Award
(Greenfields) Short-listed, 2005 Jerwood/Aldeburgh First Collection Prize
(Lucky Day) Short-listed, 2005 Whitbread Poetry Book of the Year
(Lucky Day) Short-listed, 2005 Forward Felix Dennis First Collection Prize
(Lucky Day) Runner-up, 1997 Paul Hamlyn Poetry Award, for pamphlet Hand Held Winner, 1988 Winner, STV Creative Writing Prize, Universities of Glasgow and Strathclyde Winner, 1988 Keith Wright Memorial Prize for Poetry, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow Winner, 1987 Keith Wright Memorial Prize for Poetry, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow
'The book is refreshingly without judgment of the Inuit's customs and mores.'
Jacqueline Schaalje, Mayday Magazine
'The Owner of the Sea brings Arctic cultural history to new audiences. In Price's skilful rendering, these retellings of Inuit myths leave the reader wanting to learn more about the rich heritage of our neighbours in the north.'
Ingibjörg Ágústsdóttir, The Bottle Imp
'[a] wonderful and unexpectedly timely book.'
David James, Anchorage Daily News
'There is nothing missing. The stories inhabit a world compounded of the continuing subsistence hunting economy and centuries of shamanistic magic in which animals, especially hunted animals, will speak to you, seduce you, trick you, help you, murder you... as indeed the humans do to each other. They are full of sexual and scatological obscenities, acts of cruelty, dishonour and betrayal not to mention cannibalism, and it's all there; nothing is toned down. One can freely feel that the Inuit imaginative sphere is faithfully and fearlessly represented.'
Peter Riley, The Fortnightly Review
'Each tale is full of bawdy, fun and cruelty in the best of the old storytelling tradition. Price walks a tightrope between outright filth and respectable poetic style with an effortlessness that is majestic to behold...These are stories that should be more well-known, and Price's translation ought to become the standard version in English. A timeless collection.'
Joe Darlington, Manchester Review of Books
'True myths are contradictory, ambiguous, always shape-shifting as much as the characters. Price captures this with precision... Price's poetry has always had a lapidary quality balanced with a lilting, almost nursery rhyme rhythm. It works exceptionally well in this collection.'
Stuart Kelly, The Scotsman
Praise for Richard Price 'It's an extraordinary book... Price has often been characterised by his delicacy and precision, his flexible sensuality of tone and gentleness, a domestic familiarity and a sense of respect that is neither pious nor self-regarding, and never sentimental. But here is a new departure, as if the arrival of a child later in the poet's life, and the imposing, impending threats of violence in the world around us, heighten both the claims of the human and the principles of virtue that obtain within the poetry itself.'
Alan Riach, The National
'He is a poet with a huge range of styles, for whom no subject matter is outlawed... He clusters similar poems so they sing to each other - a group of nature poems, a medley of songs - and the opening, penultimate and final poems are gracious, gentle and pleasing. We're never in any doubt that we're in the company of an unusual intelligence, but he is clever in a generous way.'
Mandy Haggith, Gutter Magazine
'Poets have to be linguistic virtuosi, but I prefer them to be brilliant quietly. Richard Price's poetry is inventive, sometimes dazzling, but never merely showy. I first came to Price's poetry with the publication of Lucky Day (2005) and every subsequent book has delivered fresh weather. Moon for Sale appeared in January 2017, and I'm still rereading it and finding new pleasures.'
Carol Rumens, Best Poetry Books of 2017, The Guardian
'A wryly playful poet...'
'There are also beautiful, intimate love poems which served to remind me that even in sad and dangerous times, human sweetness can prevail. There are also many moments of delicious humour.'
Josephine Corcoran, The North, Issue 58 (Summer 2017)
'Reading the poems you become aware you are in the presence of a mind working much more quickly and sharply than your own.'
The Poetry School 'Richard Price retains an individual voice in which intense feelings of love, or dislocation, are packed into often short, complex lyrics. There is a tension in reading his poems which is created by his care for words, by the integrity of his distillation.'
Carol Ann Duffy 'Price's humane intelligence manifests itself in deceptively simple and subtly musical forms of address. Readers who allow themselves the pleasure will not be disappointed.'
Robert Potts, The Guardian
'...when you come to such energy combined with impressive inventiveness and lyricism, it is rather hard to pass on by [...] the humour, the wittiness [are] there throughout, as is a boldness of utterance [...] Here, however sorrowful the story, I hope other readers too will feel the energy of language in the making.'
Caroline Clark, Eyewear 'A superb first line, 'No colours can mean more than Lego's' ('Delicate greenery'), leads on to an amazing arc of narrative and imagery and richness. There's playground slang and prejudice. And suddenly a pared-down, lyric directnessâ¦'
Tony Williams, Magma 'Richard Price retains an individual voice in which intense feelings of love, or dislocation, are packed into often short, complex lyrics. There is a tension in reading his poems which is created by his care for words, by the integrity of his distillation.'
Carol Ann Duffy
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