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The Crash Wake and other poems

Owen Lowery

Cover of The Crash Wake by Owen Lowery
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Categories: 21st Century, British
Imprint: Northern House
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (160 pages)
(Pub. Oct 2021)
9781800171763
£12.99 £11.69
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Oct 2021)
9781800171770
£10.39 £9.35
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  • Description
  • Author
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • The Poetry Book Society Winter Wild Card 2021

    In February 2020, ventilated tetraplegic poet Owen Lowery and his wife, Jayne, were travelling to Scotland when their vehicle aquaplaned, spun round on the motorway, hit a barrier, flipped over the barrier and rolled over several times, before coming to rest on its side in a field. Having barely survived, Lowery emerged into a world transformed by the coronavirus, one in which life and death had moved closer. During his months of recovery from three brain bleeds, a shattered right arm, multiple seizures and pulmonary bleeding, Lowery returned to writing poems, many of which address the strangeness, the disorientation, of his situation and that of the world in general. Lowery wrote these poems amidst reports of Government and health initiatives that suggested potential utilitarian sacrifices of 'the vulnerable'. Completed shortly before his death in May 2021, the fear and loss of the vulnerable and the voiceless haunt many of the poems.

    In the 'Crash Wake' sequence, Lowery adopted a twelve-line form. Twelve lines was as long as he could manage to sustain a poem at the time, due to repercussions from his head injury. The form also allowed him to take what Keith Douglas called 'extrospective' snapshots of the new environment in which he found himself: streets empty of people, an Italian village cut off by the army, a train in India killing migrant workers in their sleep. Recovery, nature and love fill the gaps in this changed world. Lowery's final book appreciates afresh landscape and wildlife, family and marriage, the importance and fragility of life.
    Owen Lowery was born in 1968. Formerly a British Judo champion, he suffered a spinal injury while competing and became a ventilator-dependent tetraplegic. He had an MA in Creative Writing from Bolton University, where he also completed his PhD in the extrospective poetry of Keith Douglas. His poetry appeared in Stand, ... read more
    Awards won by Owen Lowery Winner, 2021 The Poetry Book Society Winter Wild Card (The Crash Wake and other poems)
    'These poems powerfully depict the tenuousness of our brief existences...There is solace to be found in Lowery's work, which reminds us that ephemerality is something we can learn to accept, even as we struggle to survive...a moving exploration of precarity'

    Ryo Yamaguchi, Poetry Foundation

    These are poems of hope and survival against almost unimaginable odds. Following a car crash and a near-death experience in February 2020, Owen Lowery's The Crash Wake presents the latest chapter in his extraordinary and moving life journey.In this unique personal testament, we discover an undauntable and indomitable spirit, as Lowery unflinchingly faces questions such as 'which of us to save / and let go, weigh us all, like snowfall'. In his awareness of the fragility and preciousness of all life, despite and through pain, and by celebrating both the minutiae of experience and the prevailing spirits of personal love and creative energy, Lowery reveals incomparably intimate and detailed insights into the meaning of human dignity, courage and heroism.

    Richard Berengarten

    Praise for Owen Lowery 'These poems become hypnotic, almost taking the place of the curiosity normally felt when looking at a painting, because they so boldly answer our questions, even our unasked questions.' - Peter Carpenter, The North
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