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Grace by Esther Morgan
  

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Shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize for Poetry 2011.

Reviewed and selected by our poetry expert, Liam Parkin.

Esther Morgan’s collection Grace is one of delicate and lyrical beauty. Her poems ponder over sounds and silence, thought and action. Often located within a domestic or rural environment, Morgan’s ambient verse mixes feelings of liberation and anxiety; the feeling of being isolated as well as seeking solitude. Her natural images are subtle and provoking – ‘A red deer delicately eating/ each closed tulip like a prayer’ (What Happens While We Are Sleeping), and her lyrical pieces often contain tones of a lost or returned innocence. Indeed, there is an appeal to things that have long-gone, but ones we still retain affinities to whether by memory or lack-of. An adept collection, Morgan speaks with a voice that we can all empathise with.

Click here to visit the Poetry Book Society page for Reading Groups and to download extracts from the T S Eliot Prize shortlist.

Synopsis

Grace by Esther Morgan

Shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize for Poetry 2011.

What happens if, when the angel arrives with his message, no one's at home? In poems of lyric concentration, Grace examines our need for purpose, for the signs that might help us decide what to do with our lives. It's a desire that makes for restless spirits - like the woman who keeps shifting her furniture around or the invisible subjects of an early photograph, moving too fast to be captured. Other poems ask what happens when we reconcile ourselves to watching and waiting - whether the angle of the sun in a guest room or the colour of a bruised clementine is really 'enough to be going on with'. Haunted by a blue sky out of which something (or nothing) might come, these are poems of intensely felt moments. They create a vision both troubled and informed by doubt, where the ghost of a film star may be the closest we can come to grace.

Reviews

'Poems of outstanding beauty and a decidedly celebratory wisdom that takes nothing for granted. This is poetry of the first order by a poet who really knows how to sing' - John Burnside

'Esther Morgan's poems are full of hints and mysteries. They dance on sensuous feet while keeping a troubled eye on the music that keeps them dancing. But there are joys here as well as anxieties, and it is the two that amplify each other into such clear, poignant and resonant shapes' - George Szirtes

'Morgan works like an archaeologist, creating imagined histories of lives by uncovering what was previously hidden' - Robyn Bolam, Magma

About the Author

Esther Morgan was born in Kidderminster, Worcestershire. She first started writing poetry while working as a volunteer at the Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere, Cumbria. After completing an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia in 2007, she taught on UEA's undergraduate creative writing course and for the Department of Continuing Education. After a teaching exchange to Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia, Morgan returned to UEA where she edited four editions of the poetry anthology Reactions. She was awarded an Eric Gregory Award in 1998 and her first collection, Beyond Calling Distance, was published by Bloodaxe in 2001. It won the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and was shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize. Her second collection, The Silence Living in Houses (Bloodaxe, 2005), was largely inspired by her time caretaking a run-down Edwardian house in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire. In 2010 she won the Bridport Poetry Prize for her poem 'This Morning', included in her third collection Grace (Bloodaxe Books, 2011). As well as freelance teaching and editing work, Esther Morgan is currently Historic Recordings Manager for the Poetry Archive, the world's largest online collection of poets reading their own work: www.poetryarchive.org. After four years in Oxfordshire, she moved back to Norfolk.

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Book Info

Publication date

31st October 2011

Author

Esther Morgan

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Author's Website

www.esthermorgan.net/

Publisher

Bloodaxe Books Ltd

Format

Paperback

Categories

Poetry
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ISBN

9781852249182

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