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Trouble Came to the Turnip
RRP: GBP 9.95
ISBN: 978 1 847774 19 4
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: August 2011
64 pages (print version)
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: Paperback, eBook (EPUB), eBook (Kindle)
When trouble came to the village
I put my love in the cabbage-cart
and we rode wrapped in cabbage
to the capital.
from 'Trouble Came to the Turnip'
Following Looking Through Letterboxes, her first collection (2002), Caroline Bird was acclaimed as a vivid and precocious new talent. Trouble Came to the Turnip confirms her originality as she strikes out again in new directions, taking nothing for granted. Her poems are ferociously vital, fantastical, sometimes violent, almost always savagely humorous and self-mocking. Caroline Bird's world is inhabited by failed and (less often) successful relationships, by the dizzying crisis of early adulthood, by leprechauns and spells and Miss Pringle's seven lovely daughters waiting to spring out of a cardboard cake. And the turnip.
Trouble Came to the Turnip
The World is not Made for Frogs
Our Lollipop Lady
This Time Last Week
An Opera in One Act
Put Your Earmuffs on Your Eyes
Love Has Arrived
The Softness of the Morning
The Leprechaun Thinks It Matters
A Gentlewoman’s Pornography
Good Friday Outside Barcelona Cathedral
My Love Made Me a Hat
Sugar Pot Shakedown
Shortfall of Water
Let the People Starve
My Lovely Legless Acrobat
Mermaids in My Coffee
The Choirboy Brothers
The Fairy Is Bored with Her Garden
Chant and be Happy
Talent to Talent
The Lady with the Lamp
And a Touch of Dried Peppermint
Moving on a Midnight Train
Let’s Write Another Poem
It Will Come to Pass
Not Like This
A Seasonal Surprise for Miss Pringle
This Bar Is Full of Octopuses
The Mistress of the House
Not a Raindrop
Extracts from an Archive Recently Discovered in a School Wastepaper Bin
Where is all the Mist?
Ode to a Cubicle
I Fell in Love with a Crooner
Chaining Bikes To This Girl Is Strictly Prohibited
A Bewitchment to Revive a Lustreless Relationship.
You Had a Latin Lesson
All Things Yellow
A Sunny Day on Earth
Awards won by Caroline Bird Short-listed, 2020 The Forward Prize for Best Collection (The Air Year) Short-listed, 2017 The Ted Hughes Award for New Poetry (In These Days of Prohibition) Short-listed, 2017 The T.S. Eliot Prize (In These Days of Prohibition) Commended, 2004 Christopher Tower Poetry Prize Winner, 2000 Simon Elvin Young Poet of the Year Award Winner, 1999 Simon Elvin Young Poet of the Year Award Winner, 2002 Eric Gregory Award Winner, 2004 Peterloo Poets Competition (16-19 year-olds) Winner, 2003 Peterloo Poets Competition (16-19 year-olds) Winner, 2002 Peterloo Poets Competition (16-19 year-olds) Short-listed, 2001 Geoffrey Dearmer Prize Short-listed, 2008 Dylan Thomas Prize for young writers
Praise for Caroline Bird 'Bird's poetry is undeniably funny [...] Readers will fall in love with [the] writing for her fresh and strange imagery.'
Oxford Poetry Library, where Bird's collection was Book of the Month for September 2020
'As a reader, The Air Year gives me hope that maybe we can write and read our way out of whatever mess is splashed in our faces as we float around this increasingly weird world - as impossible as that seems.
There is no doubt about how prescient The Air Year is - even the title could act as a sobriquet for the pandemic. So, we are left with everything up in the air and, as we sit tight in our homes, we're all just hoping that, if we ever land, there'll be something worth landing on.''Bird is direct about her desires and her shortcomings in her poems, refusing to shy away from the details of sex, mental health, suicide ideation or addiction. At the same time, there is lightness and whimsy in the chaos'
Peter Raynard, The Poetry School
'The Air Year is surreal and satirical but beneath all this levity, lies a candid vulnerability.''Her phrasemaking is sublime... it's superb'
PBS Spring 2020 Bulletin
Tristram Fane Saunders, February Telegraph Book of the Month 2020
'Caroline Bird is a poet like no other, always prepared to shower us in meteors of linguistic playfulness, in a frightening game of hide and seek. We don't always need to understand every explosion of emotion to feel the power and passion. These poems are screenshots, epic movies, ground-breaking nuggets of prose, and something else we can't even find words for. The Air Year is a fantastic, intimate, disturbing and beautiful tour de force.'
Pat Edwards, London Grip
'If for Wallace Stevens poetry was the 'Supreme Fiction', Robert Lowell argued 'why not say what happened?' Bird, however, grabs Confessionalism by the throat to produce a surreal if formally controlled autobiography.'
Julian Stannard, The Poetry Review
'Caroline Bird's is an unquestionably vigorous and original voice'
Suzannah V. Evans, The TLS
'Bird is a master of bleak humour interlaced with wry social commentary.'
'Caroline Bird's In These Days of Prohibition is equally pleasurable and disturbing, because it understands the genuinely strange ground on which we must build our thoughts and our emotions. In work of great and frequently comic poise it captures moments of absolute loss of control, and absolute freedom. We recognise that sustained unsettling comic virtuosity is the startling agent by which we engage with such loss, such freedom.'
- W.N Herbert (Chair of the 2017 T.S. Eliot Prize Judging Panel) 'Achieves serious funniness by filtering mental illness and addiction through the prism of pop-surrealism.'
Jeremy Noel-Tod, The Sunday Times
'Since she published her debut aged 15 in 2002, Bird's witty writing has been wrongly dismissed in some quarters as lightweight. This brave eighth collection (a slant account of her year in rehab) proves those critics wrong from its first page.'
Tristram Fane Saunders, The Daily Telegraph
'The poems in this, Bird's fifth collection, explode on the page, bristling with a vision of sanity within madness, order within chaos. She has the ability to describe a tortured soul in a twenty-first century manner, bringing humour, contemporary idiom and irony into the work.'
Dundee University Review of the Arts
'The poems of In These Days of Prohibition are disquieting: institutionalised, hedonistic, vacuous and nihilistic. The collection takes a hard look at contemporary society but is, ultimately, uplifting. If Brett Easton Ellis wrote poems, I'd like to think they'd be poems like these.'
John Field in the 2017 T.S. Eliot Prize shorlist newsletter
'Her poems burst with linguistic energy.'
Stephen Knight, Times Literary Supplement 'An astonishingly assured piece of work.'
Ruth Padel, Financial Times 'What an original captivating and spellbinding voice. Bird is fearless like 'the girl who dropped her ice-cream down a volcano and leaped in after it'. She's dangerous and witty too with a rare quality of imagination. This is a wonder, a beautifully written book of poems.'
'A carnival of characters spills out of these poems, chased by paparazzi, doing somersaults and cartwheels with language... Caroline Bird puts us on the inside looking deeper in, under the glittering skin to the place where laughter begins, where mothers are children, where people feel pain and speak in tongues, where tongues are knives and "Someone still has to stay here and die".'
Imtiaz Dharker 'Bird is irrepressible; she simply explodes with poetry. The work erupts, spring-loaded, funny, sad, deadly - you don't know if a bullet will come out of the barrel or a flag with the word BANG on it.'
Simon Armitage 'Her poems burst with linguistic energy, and the book is profligate with striking lines and images.'
Times Literary Supplement
'The tone fuses knowing innocence and integrity; some poems are faux naif with a ballad lilt, others are sad, funny surreal; all are studded with fresh imaginative insights.'
Ruth Padel, Financial Times
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