These poems have a touch as deft as the seamstresses and other craftspeople who populate the book. This collection the result of a collaboration between poet and artist, and has the focused detail of pen and ink sketches yet pulls into its parameters the wide world of mythologies, folklore and personal narratives.
This collection is about women's experiences of work, the city, menopause and ancestry. The poems have a touch as deft as the seamstresses and other craftspeople who populate the book. They are funny, political and lyrical. Wills shapes the metaphorical and physical terrain of the female body in an original, essential way. In one section, the poems are weighted with the visceral routine of daily life, in another, short poems fly with disruption; physical and emotional changes lead to unease and wonderment. It is a book of enchantment and observation, presenting the power of simple language to convey large and thrilling ideas, relying on often natural images to convey the political in the personal, the value of love and the depth of impermanence.
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Jackie Wills has published four collections of poetry; the most recent is Commandments (Arc, 2007). Her first, Powder Tower (Arc) was shortlisted for the 1995 T S Eliot Prize and was a Poetry Book Society recommendation. In 2004, Mslexia selected her as one of the top 10 new poets of the decade. Her work appears on a dress by designer Helen Storey, in the animated film Alphabetic and on a path by potter Julian Belmonte as well as in several anthologies. She has worked as a journalist, editor and creative writing tutor and undertaken a number of residencies in businesses and schools.
Table of Contents
A lone leaping woman / Owner of a mangle / Feather-wife / Saturday girl / Grace-wife / Herring girl / Dorset buttonmaker / Blacksmith / Corset-maker / Fripperer / Boarding house keeper / Ale-wife / II Forest choir / Words for women / Woman's head as jug / Cliff / La Fontasse / Calanque / Fireworks on the Feast of the Assumption / The seals' goodbye / Mackerel shoal / Her year / Translations from the silence of colour / Canopy / Balance / Moults / The change / What she became / Female ancestor / Five aunts / III SWEATS Elephants / She wants a baby / It's unclear how much of a man she needs / A woman without a man / When she finds herself at the top of the stairs / Libido / Clots / Four professors at the menopause symposium / Her beard / Spiders have placed a cataplasm of webs / Smear / Hypothalamus / Superannuation / Her mirror face is spinning / Veins / Her troubles / Her heart / Trace / Atrophy / IV Return / Imagining my great grandmother / The air on Lewes Road / The kitchen floor / Dirty business / The day before he left / Landlord visiting the student quarter / Sandwich man advertising pizza / Recovering you / Stolen identity / Summer fruit / Willow / Yew tree / Sheepcote Valley / Gyratory / Funeral horses / Biographical Note /
Woman's Head as Jug by Jackie Wills
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