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The Strongbox

Sasha Dugdale

Cover of The Strongbox by Sasha Dugdale
10% off all versions
Categories: 21st Century, British, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (88 pages)
(Pub. May 2024)
9781800174085
£12.99 £11.69
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. May 2024)
9781800174092
£10.39 £9.35
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  • Description
  • Author
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • 'It began with the sun
    appearing over the plane wing
    supernatural orange
                                          but no light'

    The Strongbox opens with the abduction of a woman to a foreign land and ends with the Rape of Europa.

    Drawing in elements of Greek mythology, epic literature and recent history, this protean work gives shape to a cast of characters both ancient and modern, as they flit in and out of tales, their voices overlapping and interacting.

    An unnamed girl is persuaded to leave behind her country and her childhood and travel to a warzone. Helen of Sparta, already trapped behind the walls of Ilium, is plagued by dreams about the coming conflict. Gods continue their manipulations, while mortals persist in defying the will of their gods.

    Through a series of interconnected scenes and dialogues this singular work traces the role of myth in shaping our accounts of both history and contemporary events.
    Sasha Dugdale has published six collections with Carcanet. The Strongbox is her most recent book (May, 2024). Her fifth collection Deformations was shortlisted for the 2020 T. S. Eliot Prize and Derek Walcott Prize. Joy (2017) was a Poetry Book Society Choice and the title poem was awarded the Forward Prize ... read more
    Awards won by Sasha Dugdale Short-listed, 2021 The Derek Walcott Poetry Prize
    (Deformations)
    Short-listed, 2020 T.S. Eliot Prize (Deformations) Winner, 2017 The Poetry Book Society Winter Choice Award (Joy) Winner, 2017 SOA Cholmondeley Award Winner, 2016 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem (for 'Joy') Winner, 2003 Eric Gregory Award
    'It is simultaneously a cry of distress for the modern world and a cool-headed contemplation of what it is in us that leads us to the dark places... it is an immensely rich poetic world which, when you enter, you find is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. You, reader, must discover; you must curate.'

    Chris Edgoose, Wood Bee Poet

    Praise for Sasha Dugdale 'An ambitious and soliloquising work... By setting the Trojan War in the 21st century, exploring the dynamics of political power during a siege, and dramatising connections with strangers on foreign land, Dugdale weaves in strands of contemporary concern about neocolonialism and the refugee crisis.'

    Isabelle Baafi, Magma

    'The brutality and the beauty are left to stand in uncomfortable juxtaposition in poems which repeatedly situate themselves in scenes of ambiguous feeling... This is the poetry of "endless small tracks", richly attuned to balance alternative perspectives and reconcile contrarious trajectories in its tiniest details'

    Joseph Turner, Oxford Review of Books

    'Dugdale is the real thing.' 

    Tristram Fane Saunders, Telegraph  

     'Deformations has the ability to change the landscape of how we talk about abuse and trauma'

    Rachel Long, Observer Books of the Year 2020

    'With it's spare, muscular language, Deformations views our distorting predilection for myth-making with no nonsense clarity' 

    John Field, T.S. Eliot Prize 
    'This is sly, subtle, elliptical work, entrapping both subject and reader in something queasily human [...] It's the sign of a poet utterly in control of her gifts. This may seem a strange thing to say about a book so filled with unreliable narrators, but in Deformations Dugdale proves hers is a voice you can trust.'

    Tristram Fane Saunder, The Telegraph, where Deformations was Poetry Book of the Month (September 2020)

    'This is writing that flows with many voices, with uncompromising acts of ethical energy, with writing that turns on itself and offers up for display its own protocols, gifts and virtù with astonishing and intricate candour and difficulty, and yet communicated in this tour de force plainstyle that judges its signifying powers to represent at the same time as breaking through, by way of its very deformation of tradition and assumption, to a moving communicableness of shared witness'

    Adam Piette, Blackbox Manifold

    'Dugdale proves herself a powerful voice by writing about visual art, poetry, and history "in reverse".

    Antony Huen, The Compass

     'Joy... is a free-wheeling and beautifully sustained portrait of grief and the truths it can convey.'
    Sarah Westcott, Artemis Poetry
     
    'Dugdale's skill at form is directed at containing the uncontainable death and absence which allows us to handle them, like examining insects trapped in amber'

    Lisa Kelly, Magma Poetry Review 71

    'These compelling stories of strange happenings in an almost imperceptibly strange style make your mind understand foreignness as our process. Sasha Dugdale is a wise bard and her book is a civilising read.'
    Claire Crowther in The Poetry Review
     'The categories of age, empire and (particularly) gender are shown to set unjust limits on human flourishing, and on what histories can be told. Yet Dugdale emphasises that, when oppressed subjects are allowed to express themselves, their stories might still be of willed sacrifice and genuine happiness.'
    Poetry London
       'Sometimes you read a work that is so clearly deserving of the accolades it's received that it restores your faith in things. Sasha Dugdale's 'Joy' is such a work.'
    The Poetry School
    '...a beguiling and unusual debut, its best poems at once elusive, satisfying and likely to go on being read.'
    Sean O'Brien, Times Literary Supplement
     My favourite collection this year is Sasha Digdale's 'Red House' (Carcanet Oxford Poets). I like how she has infused her British sensibility with the passion and abandon of Russian poets like Anna Akhmatova and Marina Tssvetaeva, whom she has previously translated.
    Kathryn Maris, Timeout Magazine Best of 2011
    'The sensibility The Estate reveals is intelligent and wry - as well as highly original'
    Fiona Sampson, Tower Poetry
    'Notebook is a beguiling and unusual debut, its best poems at once elusive, satisfying and likely to go on being read.'
    Times Literary Supplement
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