Brilliant young woman poet joins Cape list Though firmly rooted in the domestic, natural world, Jean Sprackland's poems are thrilling excursions into the lives that we live alongside our everyday ones: the lives we are aware of in dreams, in grief, in love. She shows us the vertigo and vulnerability of human experience with great clarity and precision, tenderness and care. These are vivid poems full of light and weather and water - awash with water: a flooded forest, acid rain, an inland tidal wave, an ocean of broken glass; jellyfish washed up on the beach that 'lay like saints/unharvested, luminous'. There is an arresting imagination at work here, one as relaxed and at home in an alternative world of babies in filing cabinets, light collectors or the visiting dead, as it is in the world we think we know: supermarkets, empty flats, the A580 from Liverpool to Manchester. In the title poem, Sprackland sets out her store: 'I tried the soft stuff on holiday in Wales, a mania of teadrinking and hairwashing, excitable soap which never rinsed away, but I loved coming home to this. Flat. Straight. Like the vowels, Like the straight talk: hey up me duck...the blunt taste of don't get mardy, of too bloody deep for me, fierce lovely water that marked me for life as belonging, regardless. ' Lucid, sensuous and informed by an unusually tactile curiosity, the poems in Hard Water mark the assured arrival of an important poet.