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RRP: GBP 9.95
ISBN: 978 1 847774 45 3
Categories: 21st Century, British, Women
Imprint: Northern House
Published: July 2013
70 pages (print version)
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (Kindle), Paperback
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 Collection
In 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’.
'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)
Praise for Rebecca Goss '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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