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Bricks and Ballads

Alison Brackenbury

Cover Picture of Bricks and Ballads
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This title is available for academic inspection (paperback only).
ISBN: 978 1 857547 51 1
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: September 2004
216 x 135 x 8 mm
96 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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  • It is the wild cranesbill
    Seed stolen from the hedge.
    It opens mouths of warm blue
    White whispers at its edge.
    As in this strange wet summer
    The sodden, tame rose lists
    It glimmers light. As rain itself
    It stubbornly persists.
    It is the wild cranesbill.
    The lost are gone with you.
    It neither owns nor saves us.
    Its cups glow clearest blue.

    Ballads are memorable. This book was finished when the poet was fifty, with too much to remember: the shadows of the greater world, the bulldozers down the street tearing through a Victorian school, the generosity of its founders, its green graceful bell tower and its nesting jackdaws turned to a cry in the air.

    The bricks go off to salvage and are lost in other streets but the poems remain. Ballads are bare and brief; tried by time. They salvage but they sing, stubbornly. Their stories are sure: a woman in the kitchen, Handel at his illicit feast, the Russian dog heading for space. Shakespeare stops for breath on the stairs. Mithras is the milkman. There are cats and wild cranesbill. The poems nudge us on.
    Alison Brackenbury was born in Lincolnshire in 1953.†She is descended from generations of skilled farm workers, including a dynasty of prize-winning shepherds. She won a scholarship to Oxford and left with a First in English. She then married and moved to a small town†in Gloucestershire, where she combined writing with horse-keeping, ... read more
    Praise for Alison Brackenbury 'Brackenbury conjures a poetry that brings those frightening things into plain daylight, a poetry of the active life, of thrift and graft, of spirits that when pressed resort to sanity.'

    John Bevis  

    'Brackenbury makes rhyming seem easy in work that is clever, controlled, eccentric and thoroughly British in both subject matter and tone.'
    David Starkey, Santa Barbara Independent
      'Brackenbury is a poet of strong feeling, deeply involved with her subject matter. That the work is cast with such craft and needs to do so little to draw attention to itself makes it all the more pleasurable.'
    Jonathan Davidson, Poetry Review
    'Alison Brackenbury's ninth collection of poems is a humble, often humorous, celebration of the everyday and the privileges of age.' - Harriet Barker, TLS 'It is her immediate response to the natural world happenings, the seasons, family and memories, and all life's incidentals that make her poems so easy to relate to.' - D. A. Prince, The North 'Filigreed with images of light and dark throughout, it's evocative, amusing and utterly compelling.'
    Frances Lass, Radio Times
    Gillian Reynolds, Daily Telegraph
    The Times
     'Alison Brackenbury loves, lives, hymns and rhymes the natural world and its people like no other poet.'
    Gillian Clarke, National Poet of Wales
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