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Categories: 21st Century, First Collections
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Up here in the library, where the sun -
Apollo's sun, mind - falls upon me
And will do, winter white and often fogspun,
Each morning when I enter to start work,
Pick a paintbrush, flick pigment through its mane.
from 'J.M.W. Turner: The Library'
Sasha Dugdale's first collection of poems takes its title from the notebook kept by the artist J.M.W. Turner, whose responses to the world are explored in seven of her poems. But the book is also a notebook of the poet's own experiences, of living and working in Russia, of relationships and identity. Best known as a translator of contemporary Russian drama, Dugdale writes with deep insight, finding beauty and humanity in bleakness and desperation. Her sympathies are for the outsider, the observer: the woman standing alone as a crowd surges around her, the waiting figures at a snowbound airport - the painter and the poet. Linking all the poems in the collection is Dugdale's belief in the creative power of the artist and the writer to both record and transform reality.
Awards won by Sasha Dugdale Short-listed, 2021 The Derek Walcott Poetry Prize
(Deformations) Short-listed, 2020 T.S. Eliot Prize (Deformations) Winner, 2017 The Poetry Book Society Winter Choice Award (Joy) Winner, 2017 SOA Cholmondeley Award Winner, 2016 Forward Prize for Best Single Poem (for 'Joy') Winner, 2003 Eric Gregory Award
'...a beguiling and unusual debut, its best poems at once elusive, satisfying and likely to go on being read.'
Sean O'Brien, Times Literary Supplement 'Notebook is a beguiling and unusual debut, its best poems at once elusive, satisfying and likely to go on being read.'
Times Literary Supplement Praise for Sasha Dugdale 'An ambitious and soliloquising work... By setting the Trojan War in the 21st century, exploring the dynamics of political power during a siege, and dramatising connections with strangers on foreign land, Dugdale weaves in strands of contemporary concern about neocolonialism and the refugee crisis.'
Isabelle Baafi, Magma
'The brutality and the beauty are left to stand in uncomfortable juxtaposition in poems which repeatedly situate themselves in scenes of ambiguous feeling... This is the poetry of "endless small tracks", richly attuned to balance alternative perspectives and reconcile contrarious trajectories in its tiniest details'
Joseph Turner, Oxford Review of Books
'Dugdale is the real thing.'
Tristram Fane Saunders, Telegraph
'Deformations has the ability to change the landscape of how we can about abuse and trauma'
Rachel Long, Observer Books of the Year 2020
'With it's spare, muscular language, Deformations views our distorting predilection for myth-making with no nonsense clarity'
John Field, T.S. Eliot Prize'This is sly, subtle, elliptical work, entrapping both subject and reader in something queasily human [...] It's the sign of a poet utterly in control of her gifts. This may seem a strange thing to say about a book so filled with unreliable narrators, but in Deformations Dugdale proves hers is a voice you can trust.'
Tristram Fane Saunder, The Telegraph, where Deformations was Poetry Book of the Month (September 2020)
'This is writing that flows with many voices, with uncompromising acts of ethical energy, with writing that turns on itself and offers up for display its own protocols, gifts and virtù with astonishing and intricate candour and difficulty, and yet communicated in this tour de force plainstyle that judges its signifying powers to represent at the same time as breaking through, by way of its very deformation of tradition and assumption, to a moving communicableness of shared witness'
Adam Piette, Blackbox Manifold
'Dugdale proves herself a powerful voice by writing about visual art, poetry, and history "in reverse".
Antony Huen, The Compass
'Joy... is a free-wheeling and beautifully sustained portrait of grief and the truths it can convey.'
Sarah Westcott, Artemis Poetry
'Dugdale's skill at form is directed at containing the uncontainable death and absence which allows us to handle them, like examining insects trapped in amber''These compelling stories of strange happenings in an almost imperceptibly strange style make your mind understand foreignness as our process. Sasha Dugdale is a wise bard and her book is a civilising read.'
Lisa Kelly, Magma Poetry Review 71
Claire Crowther in The Poetry Review
'The categories of age, empire and (particularly) gender are shown to set unjust limits on human flourishing, and on what histories can be told. Yet Dugdale emphasises that, when oppressed subjects are allowed to express themselves, their stories might still be of willed sacrifice and genuine happiness.'
'Sometimes you read a work that is so clearly deserving of the accolades it's received that it restores your faith in things. Sasha Dugdale's 'Joy' is such a work.'
The Poetry School
My favourite collection this year is Sasha Digdale's 'Red House' (Carcanet Oxford Poets). I like how she has infused her British sensibility with the passion and abandon of Russian poets like Anna Akhmatova and Marina Tssvetaeva, whom she has previously translated.
Kathryn Maris, Timeout Magazine Best of 2011
'The sensibility The Estate reveals is intelligent and wry - as well as highly original'
Fiona Sampson, Tower Poetry
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