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An Aviary of Small Birds
RRP: GBP 9.95
ISBN: 978 1 906188 25 2
Categories: 21st Century, Black and Asian, British, Women
Published: January 2014
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (PDF), eBook (Kindle), Paperback
Digital access available through Exact Editions
An Aviary of Small Birds is both elegy to a stillborn son and testament to the redemptive qualities of poetry as a transformative art. Here, birth paradoxically becomes the moment of death when, after long labour, the baby's heart gives out. However, just a grief is not linear, so too the book follows an emotional rather than a chronological arc. Ultimately, it is a closely felt connection with nature that allows the author to transcend the experience and honour the spirit of her son.
[McCarthy Woolf has] a powerful command of form and rhythm.
Alan Brownjohn, Poetry Review
Awards won by Karen McCarthy Woolf Commended, 2017 Poetry Book Society Recommendation. (Seasonal Disturbances ) Short-listed, 2015 Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize
(An Aviary of Small Birds) Short-listed, 2015 Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection
(An Aviary of Small Birds)
'I loved Karen McCarthy Woolf's technically perfect poems of winged heartbreak'
Maggie Gee, The Observer - The New Review, 29.11.2015. '[McCarthy Woolf has] a powerful command of form and rhythm.'
Alan Brownjohn, Poetry Review
Praise for Karen McCarthy Woolf 'This is a book which goes beyond invention to intervention, offering hybrid forms through which to apprehend the world. Consider its 'couplings', which lineate and striate 'pre-existing prose' with response lines to 'create a new lyric narrative' (as the notes elucidate). This is true to how our minds reverberate with information, with the assimilated otherness of alien texts. It does not rest at passive record or academic critique of such an internal state. It makes music, love, and rapture'
Vahni Capildeo in The Compass Magazine
'Witty, provocative and lyrically accomplished.'
'For all its internationalism, McCarthy Woolf's poetry engages with the local and the personal. Reading Seasonal Disturbances is like picking up a London A-Z and finding it's a new map of the world.'
Karen's poem 'Outside' from Seasonal Disturbances was Guardian Poem of the Week, 25th December 2017
'Seasonal Disturbances is an unclassifiable book, revolutionary in its engagement with form, stunning in its intersectional politics, and an extraordinary achievement that should give the selectors of major poetry prize lists cold sweats for neglecting it. It will break you, in a good way. Truth hurts.'
The Poetry School Books of the Year 2017
'A fine antidote to Brexit delusions and certainties: London-watching and form-reshaping, unpredictable and casually intense.'
Carol Rumens, Best Poetry Books of 2017, The Guardian
'A masterclass in structure.'
'Seasonal Disturbances might be strange, but it's also a brilliant selection of poems [...] It's a collection that teaches you something about human beings as well as yourself.'
The Poetry School 'Formally ambitious...big-idea poems made up of bite-size insights and ironies that establish political anger and ecological anxiety.'
The Sunday Times
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