Books for Independent Thinkers

Bloodaxe Books

Another Country: New & Selected Poems

by Jane Griffiths

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Shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection 2008

Jane Griffiths writes mysteriously resonant poems about home, exile and shifting frontiers in classically precise language. Another Country presents a selection from her first two collections, A Grip on Thin Air and Icarus on Earth, as well as a whole collection of new work, Eclogue Over Merlin Street.

Where the earlier books are shot through with a migrant's sense of estrangement, her new poems explore what it might mean to settle in a place. The central sequence in Eclogue Over Merlin Street highlights this changing perspective through a dialogue between two voices of an immigrant in London, one embracing her new life but the other still haunted by displacement. Many other poems echo this tension, caught between love of a place and the fear of losing it.

Jane Griffiths celebrates the landscapes she lives in by observing and recording them, yet with a strong awareness that these places exist in and of themselves, regardless of her observation. Hers are poems that delight in being in the world, despite the threat of loss.

"The extraordinary exuberance of Jane Griffiths's poems is a product of their strange balancing between the image and the idea. The images seem to have a verbal life of their own, generated by a dominating thought that the reader is hardly aware of. But then it dawns on you, slowly but unforgettably, and you enjoy the things in the poem all the more when you see what they are for."
Bernard O'Donoghue

"Griffiths is an altogether unusual and original kind of contemporary poet. Icarus on Earth is a very rich and rewarding book, one densely packed with intricate and beautiful networks of image and syntax. The sheer ambition of this poetry is worth praising... truly groundbreaking contemporary poetry. Icarus on Earth is the work of a true and valuable artist."
Peter McDonald, PN Review

"A major achievement... outstanding... complex and subtle in thought, supple of tone and piercing in its observation."
Sarah Broom, Times Literary Supplement

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Another Country: New & Selected Poems