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Categories: 21st Century, British, First Collections, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (80 pages)
(Pub. Jan 2014)
eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Jan 2014)
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The lady of the moon is in travail,
her white face waxen as the missel-fruit.
The gravelled path gives way to broken angles,
burials of water. Follow it.
Creep into the hospice of the yew,
its pale lying-place. Curl up there. Wait.
According to the seventeenth-century herbarium The Garden of Eden, a ‘missel-child’ is a mysterious being found beneath a mistletoe-covered tree – a changeling, perhaps, ‘whereof many strange things are conceived’. Helen Tookey’s first full collection of poems starts from the missel-child to explore archaeologies of identity, place and language. She is a formally inventive writer, using collage and syllabics, exploring elegy and myth. The poems in this book create a space in which language enables something to be said and also to be shown.
Then is it true
At Burscough, Lancashire
Poem for Sabine
Funeral and Fox
At the Castle
Water, its Voicings
In a Richer Mine
Among the Gods (Persephone)
Male Nude by R.B. Kitaj
Portrait of a Young Woman
With Joe on Silver Street
Der Tod in Venedig
The Hardened Criminals of Tomorrow
When I was quite small I would sometimes dream
Miss Yamada Has Gotten Married
A long war, and now the returning
Persephone in Adiyaman
In the dying days of the year we walked
Climbing the Hill at Sunset
Awards won by Helen Tookey Short-listed, 2019 The Forward Prize for Best Collection (City of Departures) Short-listed, 2015 Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize for First Full Collection (Missel-Child)
'Missel-Child is an exceptional volume. Some of the subject-matter is found, some comes from a powerful and intelligent imagination and from keen observation. All is embodied in a language that is sensuous and strong.'
Jeffrey Wainwright 'The diction is unexpected, apt and deeply satisfying, focusing the reader not only on the words chosen, but also on the ghosts and resonances of those that might have been there.'
Carola Luther 'Her quiet, precise poems have a genuine eeriness. She has interests in both archaeology and psychology, but knows intuitively that they aren't separate -- that when we dig up the past it's our own roots we are looking at.'
Grevel Lindop Praise for Helen Tookey 'Tookey is a deft poet, working with ekphrasis, the graphic qualities of text and lyrical prose to create ecopoetry that is unlike any other.'
Sarah Westcott, ARTEMISpoetry
'Formal variation - itself a kind of textual curiosity - is a source of innovation throughout the book, but it is the 'quiet'-seeming prose blocks that are especially good at holding bolts of unease in their narrative folds.'
Tiffany Atkison, The Poetry Review
'Continually enquiring and observing, Tookey's poetic voice is consistently tentative, aware of precariousnesss and the possibility of disintegration. She can see the world with a painter's eye... a haunting and compelling collection'
D. A. Prince, Orbis
'In the Quaker Hotel will change the way you perceive the world around you; this is ecopoetry with a psychologically effective perspective shift. Tookey liberates us from the boundaries of our humanness.'
Ellora Sutton, MsLexia
'There is an apocalyptic fear coursing through these poems, electrifying them with an often heart-breaking and urgent apprehension of ecological crisis. Through visiting and revisiting, Helen Tookey examines places with a sharp eye, both philosophical and painterly, asking us to attend to their vulnerabilities, their mystery. Behind these carefully made poems, Tookey gives us access to something infinite and disturbing. Delicate, eerie, anxious, prophetic and cinematic, In the Quaker Hotel is a haunting record of our times.'
Seán Hewitt, author of Tongues of Fire
'Narratives describing strange, sometimes dreamlike, episodes from a female protagonist's childhood dominate the second section of Helen Tookey's four-part collection of poems and prose poems, City of Departures ... The narrative is clear and secretive at the same time: it prompts questions.'
Carol Rumens from The Guardian where 'In the Rose Garden' was poem of the week on 3rd Feb 2020
W. N. Herbert, The Poetry Review
'The poems are finely crafted and closely observed, describing somewhat unsettling, dream-like landscapes and places of memory, deserted streets in European cities, or taking artworks and objects as inspiration and points of departure... [The] rejection of borders is a fitting ending to a collection that challenges formal and aesthetic boundaries, and engages with a range of European artistic influences to offer a vision of 'belonging as not-belonging' in the face of certain and chaotic political times.'
Sophie Baldock, The Manchester Review
'Reading this book can feel like sliding into that sunken world. Strange things float beneath its beautiful surfaces'
Tristram Fane Saunders, The Telegraph
'The city in Tookey's City of Departures is full of the excitements of history and chance, and the chances taken to make a kind of radiant sense of the world, in all its breakings-down and might-have-beens, which is exactly what, time and again, these beautiful poems do.'
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