Carcanet Press Logo
Quote of the Day
If it were not for Carcanet, my library would be unbearably impoverished.
Louis de Bernieres

Watering Can

Caroline Bird

Watering Can by Caroline Bird
RRP: GBP 9.95
Available from: Amazon LogoBuy now from Amazon
eBook (Kindle)
ISBN: 978 1 847777 90 4
Categories: 21st Century, Humour, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: May 2012
96 pages (print version)
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: Paperback, eBook (EPUB), eBook (PDF)
Spend GBP 15 or more and receive a free Carcanet tote bag. Available internationally while stocks last.
Find out more.
  • Description
  • Excerpt
  • Author
  • Contents
  • Awards
  • Reviews
  • You were travelling a grey motorway.
    You had a baby in your lap
    with enormous green eyes
    and a scarily large head.
    You parked the car in a lay-by, sat on the roof,
    held her high like a trophy,
    joked, 'One day all of this will be yours.'

                                              from 'Road-Signs'
    Buy it on Amazon for Kindle here


    Caroline Bird’s two earlier collections were acclaimed for their exuberant energy, surreal imagination and passion - 'a bit of a Howl for a new generation', wrote the Hudson Review. Watering Can celebrates life as an early twenty-something. The poems, writes Caroline Bird, 'contain prophetic videos, a moon colonised by bullies, weeping scholars, laughing ducks, silent weddings - all the fertiliser that pours on top of your head.' The extraordinary verve and compassion of her verse propels us into the anxiety of new responsibilities. Raw but never hopeless, Watering Can has comedy, wordplay and bright self-deprecation.


    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. - Lemn Sissay



    The Videos
    Last Tuesday
    Peaked
    Wild Flowers
    The Golden Kids
    Impartial Information
    Expecting Rain
    The Monogamy Optician
    The Oven Glove Tree
    Bow Your Head and Cry
    Head Girl
    Road Signs

    Bright Winter Mornings in Oxford Town
    Stage Kiss
    Seesaw
    Penelope’s Chair
    D.N. eh?
    Hard Times
    Weather Vain
    Grudge
    Sun Settlers
    The Fall of London
    House and Soul
    Our Infidelity
    The Doom
    Perspectives
    Poetry as a Competitive Sport
    Wedding Guest
    From the Sewer to the Sea: ‘A Healing Progress’
    Detox
    Poet in the Class
    Blame the Poodle
    Short Story
    Lunacy
    The Perfect Man
    Reminder Notice
    Mr Bird
    Flat Mate
    The University Poetry Society
    I Married Green-Eyes
    Familiar Ground
    Women in Progress
    Sky News
    Closet Affair
    Inner-city Plot
    The Alcoholic Marching Song
    Company of Women
    XI Tyrant
    A Love Song


    Caroline Bird is a poet and playwright. Her 2017 collection, In These Days of Prohibition, was shortlisted for the 2017 T.S. Eliot Prize and the Ted Hughes Award. A two-time winner of the Foyle Young Poets Award, her first collection Looking Through Letterboxes was published in 2002 when she was ... read more
    Awards won by Caroline Bird 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
       '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.'
    Lemn Sissay
    Praise for Caroline Bird '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'

     Diva Magazine


    'The Air Year is surreal and satirical but beneath all this levity, lies a candid vulnerability.'

    PBS Spring 2020 Bulletin 

    'Her phrasemaking is sublime... it's superb'
    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.'
    Poetry London
    '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
    '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
Share this...
The Carcanet Blog Songs We Learn From Trees: Chris Beckett read more Carcanet and Covid-19 read more PN Review 252: Editorial read more Happy International Women's Day 2020! read more Angular Desire: Graziano Krtli read more Riddle Me: John Gallas read more
Find your local bookshop logo
Arts Council Logo
We thank the Arts Council England for their support and assistance in this interactive Project.
This website ©2000-2020 Carcanet Press Ltd