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Categories: 21st Century, Welsh, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (64 pages)
(Pub. Oct 2012)
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Oct 2012)
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Snowlight and sunlight, the lake glacial.
Too bright to open my eyes
in the dazzle and doze
of a distant January afternoon.
It’s long ago and the house naps in the plush silence
of a house asleep, like absence,
I’m dreaming on the white bear’s shoulder,
paddling the slow hours, my fingers in his fur.
His eyes are glass, each hair a needle of light.
He’s pegged by his claws to the floor like a shirt on the line.
He is a soul. He is what death is. He is transparency,
a loosening floe on the sea.
But I want him alive.
I want him fierce
with belly and breath and growl and beating heart,
I want him dangerous,
I want to follow him over the snows
between the immaculate earth and now,
between the silence and the shot that rang
over the ice at the top of the globe,
when the map of the earth was something we knew by heart,
and they had not shot the bear,
had not loosed the ice,
had not, had not…
In Ice Gillian Clarke turns to the real winters of 2009 and 2010. In their extremity they redefined all the seasons for her. Nature asserted itself and renewed the environment for the imagination. The poem ‘Polar’ is the poet’s point de repère, evoking a polar-bear rug she had as a child and here resurrects in a spirit of personal and ecological longing that becomes a creative act. She lives with the planet, its seasons and creatures, in a joyful, anxious communion.
The book also includes the ‘asked for’ and commissioned poems, and the Guardian spreads Clarke has written during her time as National Poet of Wales (2008 onwards). She follows in the rich millennium-old Welsh tradition of occasional writing going back to the first-known named British poets Aneirin and Taliesin in the sixth century.
Home for Christmas
In the Bleak Midwinter
Hunting the Wren
Carol of the Birds
The Dead after the Thaw
Who Killed the Swan?
The Newport Ship
In Wern Graveyard
Er Gwell, Er Gwaeth
Between the Pages
Small Blue Butterfly
Blue Sky Thinking
A Wind from Africa
Running Away to the Sea – 1955
Oradour, 10 June 1944
A Glory in Llanberis Pass
Shearwaters on Enlli
White Cattle of Dinefwr
Sarah at Plâs Newydd, Llangollen, 5 July 1788
In the Reading Room
The Book of Aneirin
Lament for Haiti
The Fish Pass
Ode to Winter
The Year’s Midnight
Awards won by Gillian Clarke Short-listed, 2022 The Wales Book of the Year
(Roots Home) Long-listed, 2020 The Laurel Prize for Ecopoetry (Zoology) Winner, 2011 Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.
Winner, 2012 Wilfred Owen Award
'In Ice Gillian Clarke explores memory and identity through a series of winter landscapes.'
Adam Newey, The Guardian, 1st December 2012
Praise for Gillian Clarke 'This tug between the factual and the more mystical world beyond is at the heart of the collection. Science can describe the Land but not how love of particular places works within the human spirit...a richly varied and substantial collection'
D A Prince, the North
'Clarke has a direct line to the natural world. She paints the Welsh landscape without idealising or romanticising, and in the process shows that nature doesn't need to be elevated to inspire a quiet awe.'
Financial Times Best Books of 2017
'Always openings. Perceptions never alien to the new. No borders enclose her ideas. They are allowed to roam in her meticulous phrasing. And yet her greatest strength is, paradoxically, her moments of both closure and trapped moments of insight delivered to us grateful readers with faithful intelligence.'
'Clarke is a singer among poets, a celebrant of landscape, trees, insects, dead ewes, a writer whose rhythms and vocabulary seem tenaciously rooted in the traditions of the place of their origin.'
The Tablet 'Gillian Clarke's outer and inner landscapes are the sources from which her poetry draws its strengths.'
Carol Ann Duffy, Guardian
'Gillian Clarke's [poems] ring with lucidity and power... Clarke's work is both personal and archetypal, built out of language as concrete as it is musical.'
Anne Stevenson, Times Literary Supplement 'Clarke's mellifluous new collection [A Recipe for Water] is her first since her appointment as Wales's national poet in 2008. The drop of water on the tongue, she tells us, 'was the first word in the world', and it's through water that these poems give up their stories: history is written into the Arctic's ice; myths well up from river sources; the currents on the ocean wash culture and heritage onto our shores. Watery collections have poured forth from the pens of poets from Sean O'Brien to Maura Dooley in recent years; anticipation is high for Clarke's contribution to the pool'.
Sarah Crown, the Guardian, 3 January 2009
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