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Categories: 21st Century, British, Women
Imprint: Northern House
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (80 pages)
(Pub. Jul 2013)
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(Pub. Jul 2013)
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with an unlucky lobe,
the rarest of anomalies
that would flourish
and defeat her
from ‘Foetal Heart’
Shortlisted for the 2013 Forward Prize for Best CollectionIn 2007 Rebecca Goss’s newborn daughter Ella was diagnosed with Severe Ebstein’s Anomaly, a rare and incurable heart condition. She lived for sixteen months. Her Birth is a book-length sequence of poems beginning with Ella’s birth, her short life and her death, and ending with the joys and complexities that come with the birth of another child. Goss navigates the difficult territory of grief and loss in poems that are spare, tender and haunting: ‘Going home, back down / the river road, will be a foreign route without her’.
Shortlisted for the 2015 Warwick Prize for Writing
Selected for Next Generation Poets 2014
It must be at once the most painfully personal and the most restrained and sparsely written poetry collection of the year... It's poetry of witness. The language is simple; the images are simple; the feeling is all. It's feeling no one wants to have, and it is handled with immense grace.
Katy Evans-Bush, Poetry London
Something close to a poetic journal, the poems are by turns meditative and bewildered, uttered in the quietest of delicately weighted language, as if the failing child and the experience alike could not bear too much pressure or noise. What transformations there are, are tentative and quietly sustained.
Jane Draycott, Canto
She [writes] with astonishing success, to which the key is a brilliant sparseness consistently adding up to more than the sum of its parts. Her linguistic tact and her judgement never falter...
Lawrence Sail, Warwick Review
The poems have an almost unbearable beauty...
Peter Kennedy, poetrywivenhoe
The poems in Her Birth unfold their story of love, loss and grief for a baby daughter with pared-down precision and scorching intensity.
Room in a Hospital
A Dream of Heart Babies
I Sweat When I
Ward at Night
Severe Ebstein’s Anomaly
A Child Dies in Liverpool
You’re Lucky You Can Dream About Her
My Neighbour’s Himalayan Birch
The 21st of March
Mothers of the Dead
Grief Goes Jogging
Peeing at the Odeon
Why We Had Another Baby
As Owls Do
Telling the Tale
In Memory of John Ernest Goss 1920–2011
Taking You There
Awards won by Rebecca Goss Short-listed, 2019 The East Anglian Book (Poetry) Award (Girl) Winner, 2014 East Anglian Book Awards for Poetry (Her Birth) Short-listed, 2015 The Portico Prize for Literature (Her Birth) Short-listed, 2015 The Warwick Prize for Writing (Her Birth) Short-listed, 2013 The Forward Prize for Best Collection (Her Birth)
'The pieces form a narrative sequence that are variously painful, jealous, hopeful, and tender ... This fine balancing act between emotional and cathartic resulted in the collection being nominated for the 2013 Forward Prize for Best Collection of Poetry. Yet beyond any industry accolades, Her Birth is all about feeling and the grace to accept and move on with life'
Susan Darlington, Spectrum Culture
Praise for Rebecca Goss 'In this beautiful collection, Rebecca Goss weaves together memory and myth... Her writing is lucid and seemingly effortless.'
Louise Warren, London Grip
'Latch, Rebecca Goss' fourth collection is on first reading, rich, thick, and full of complexity, with concentrated ideas and complex strings of imagery... Deep, thoughtful, and affecting.'
Mab Jones, Buzz Mag
'Latch repays several re-readings. The intertwining of themes, memory and the fluidity of time makes for a very evocative collection steeped in a personal discovery of what it means to both re-live and create a sense of home.
Sue Wallace-Shaddad, Alchemy Spoon
'Latch brings us an evocation of the past which avoids the pitfalls of sentimentality or nostalgia. Instead here is something sharp, joyful and interrogating: a bright, taut view of a rural English childhood. Her astute eye lets nothing through as the latch of memory and the blacksmith's making become a vehicle for a poised engagement with the shifting roles of motherhood across time.'
'This collection collapses the boundaries between land and lineage, is filled with portent, vestige, longing. I don't know how it's possible for these poems to be so intimate, yet vast. They beat fiercely with bird-animal-human hearts.'
'Tenderness between mothers and daughters is the collection's keynote . . . graceful, measured and joyous'
Suzannah V. Evans, TLS
'It is clearly with great skill that Goss demonstrates how one can be close to a subject, yet simultaneously far away... Girl can be read as a neutral document of experiences that observe details in the same way that one would collate data points. It is a chronology of moments that neither indicate the speaker's interest or ennui; they are simply pieces of an individual life.'
Sarah-Jean Zubair, Poetry London
'Goss contiunes to mine distinctive terrain which makes the best of her poetry compelling... these poems are impressive for launching seams of intense emotion from so minimalist a source'
Ellen Cranitch, The Poetry Review
'Rebecca Goss's poems have their own sure authority; they are never ostentatious or trendily experimental, and her voice rings out clear, promising always more to come'
Patricia McCarthy, Agenda Ekphrastic Issue
'A passionate, tender, thrilling book.'
'This is a book about human bodies: freckles, fists, itches and that 'private reek'. Graphic, funny and tender, these poems jostle with bodies that swim, jog, fuck, medicate, spin on dodgems, grow up and grow ill. Rebecca Goss captures both the pleasure and the pain. Girl is a quivering, kicking reminder of what it is to be alive.'
'From the first poem about a mother struck by lightning, closely followed by the delicate, intimate and equally astonishing title poem, 'Girl' - the first of a series inspired by Alison Watt's paintings that are threaded throughout this collection - I was totally gripped. Rebecca Goss's voice is quietly passionate. Her forms are exquisitely crafted. Her themes, of human fragility and of our bodies' capacity for pleasure and pain, are universal.'
'The people in these poems are split down the middle - by lightening, by the 'marquise cut' of birth, by love, and yet beauty flies from the breakage, something 'large, planetary'. These are poems of brave surrender to the accident of living, the constant somersault, and regardless of whether the change is huge or tiny - a thunderbolt or an unexpected freckle - it is always fundamental, always shattering, always a thrill.'
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