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A Recipe for Water
RRP: GBP 9.95
ISBN: 978 1 847778 13 0
Categories: 21st Century, Welsh, Women
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: April 2012
96 pages (print version)
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (Kindle), Paperback, eBook (PDF)
Walking by water through the gates
of castle, mountains, sky, I think of him,
working the stone-boats on the Menai Straits
to the salt psalm of the sea and the wind's hymn
in the tug and thrust of the tide.
from 'Quayside' by Gillian Clarke
The drop of water on the tongue, writes Gillian Clarke, 'was the first word in the world', and the language of water is the element in which these poems live. Ocean currents create histories and cultures - the port cities of Cardiff and Mumbai; myths are born where great rivers have their source high in the mountains. A bottle of spring water contains the mineral elements of life; we can read the earth's deep history in arctic ice. We share the rhythms of migrations in the pull of tides and seasons through rivers and estuaries.
In her first collection since becoming the National Poet of Wales in 2008, Gillian Clarke explores water as memory and meaning, the bearer of stories that well up from a personal and collective past to return us to the language of the imagination in which we first named the world.
A Pocket Dictionary
Glas y Dorlan
The Fox and the Girl
A T-Mail to Keats
The Ledbury Muse
A Recipe for Water
A Barge on the Severn
Man in a Shower
At the Banganga Tank
In the Taj
Reader's Digest Atlas of the World
The Rising Tide
Letting the Light In
House of Dreams
A Sonnet for Nye
Death's Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar
Storm over Limousin
Landscape with Farm
Bach at St Davids
Cattle, Hayfield, Storm
Love at Livebait
Castell y Bere
The Oak Wood
The Darkest Day
Awards won by Gillian Clarke Long-listed, 2020 The Laurel Prize for Ecopoetry (Zoology) Winner, 2011 Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry.
Winner, 2012 Wilfred Owen Award
'Clarke's mellifluous new collection [A Recipe for Water] is her first since her appointment as Wales's national poet in 2008. The drop of water on the tongue, she tells us, 'was the first word in the world', and it's through water that these poems give up their stories: history is written into the Arctic's ice; myths well up from river sources; the currents on the ocean wash culture and heritage onto our shores. Watery collections have poured forth from the pens of poets from Sean O'Brien to Maura Dooley in recent years; anticipation is high for Clarke's contribution to the pool'.
Sarah Crown, the Guardian, 3 January 2009
Praise for Gillian Clarke 'This tug between the factual and the more mystical world beyond is at the heart of the collection. Science can describe the Land but not how love of particular places works within the human spirit...a richly varied and substantial collection'
D A Prince, the North
'Clarke has a direct line to the natural world. She paints the Welsh landscape without idealising or romanticising, and in the process shows that nature doesn't need to be elevated to inspire a quiet awe.'
Financial Times Best Books of 2017
'Always openings. Perceptions never alien to the new. No borders enclose her ideas. They are allowed to roam in her meticulous phrasing. And yet her greatest strength is, paradoxically, her moments of both closure and trapped moments of insight delivered to us grateful readers with faithful intelligence.'
'Clarke is a singer among poets, a celebrant of landscape, trees, insects, dead ewes, a writer whose rhythms and vocabulary seem tenaciously rooted in the traditions of the place of their origin.'
The Tablet 'Gillian Clarke's outer and inner landscapes are the sources from which her poetry draws its strengths.'
Carol Ann Duffy, Guardian
'Gillian Clarke's [poems] ring with lucidity and power... Clarke's work is both personal and archetypal, built out of language as concrete as it is musical.'
Anne Stevenson, Times Literary Supplement 'In Ice Gillian Clarke explores memory and identity through a series of winter landscapes.'
Adam Newey, The Guardian, 1st December 2012
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