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Hard Water by Jean Sprackland
  

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Reviewed and selected by our poetry expert, Liam Parkin.

In this second collection of her poetry, Jean Sprackland shows us the vertigo and vulnerability of human experience with clarity. Her poems are awash with water: a flooded forest, acid rain, an inland tidal wave, jelly fish washed up on the beach that lay like saints/unharvested, luminous .

Synopsis

Hard Water by Jean Sprackland

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.

Reviews

This collection establishes Jean Sprackland as a definite new talent. These poems in Hard Water have the exhilarating quality of freshness and truth: poems of memory and place, religion and childhood, captured with relish in a textured and physical language. Added to this are a gift for the colloquial and a subtle, sexy humour. This is a hugely enjoyable collection by a poet writing with clear gusto and authority. Buy it- and then buy it for a friend -- Carol Ann Duffy Jean Sprackland's poems reinvent the world with a wicked, michievous magic. Delighting in unsettling narratives and transformations, she turns the familiar landscape of everyday life into something instantly more compelling and mysterious- often anxious and troubling but always thrilling. There is an undeniable beauty at the dark heart of these poems -- Neil Rollinson This is an exhilarating book; each poem a dazzling performance which shifts our perception of the world -- Vicki Fever


About the Author

Jean Sprackland's book Tattoos for Mothers Day was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection in 1999. Hard Water is her second collection.

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Book Info

Publication date

14th August 2003

Author

Jean Sprackland

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Author's Website

www.jeansprackland.com/

Publisher

Jonathan Cape Ltd an imprint of Random House Children's Publishers UK

Format

Paperback
64 pages

Categories

Poetry
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ISBN

9780224069595

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