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Patricia Beer

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This title is available for academic inspection (paperback only).
ISBN: 978 1 857543 31 5
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: October 1997
216 x 135 x 5 mm
220 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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  • Description
  • Excerpt
  • Author
  • I was born tongue-tied. Ages later
    Here comes once more the suffocator
    That I cannot recall but must
    Have been what paralysed me most
    Of all the things I could not do.
    My speech is back in prison now.
    Whatever silenced me when young
    Has put a thimble on my tongue.


    In her first book since Friend of Heraclitus (1993, Poetry Book Society Choice) Patricia Beer confronts some harsh realities: serious illness, the deaths of friends, the encroachments of age. She remembers family with a surreal clarity (`Ballad of the Underpass' is in equal degrees terrifying and affirmative). She reads characters from Shakespeare into life. And other poets, too: Wilfred Owen writes to his `Dearest of Mothers' full of optimism which the date `1918' ironises. The `Sequence' with which the book concludes evokes her own nearly fatal illness and its consequences, in taut couplets that ache with the necessity of rhyme. Patricia Beer's wry courage is distinctively her own: she does not flinch from hard subjects, does not sentimentalise, but knows how grief works and how clarifying laughter can make things less intolerable.
    Patricia Beer was born in Exmouth in 1924. Her Mother died when she was 14; an event that deeply and far- reachinly affected her work, life and perspective on death. She began writing during World War II and from 1960 wrote full time. ... read more
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