Alison Brackenbury’s poems are haunted by horses, unseasonable love, history, hares and unreasonable hope. Brackenbury’s Selected Poems begins in the almost Victorian villages of remote Lincolnshire, where her father tramped, as a ploughboy, behind great Shires and Percherons.
Her acclaimed early poem, ‘Dreams of Power’, gives voice to a little-known woman from the past, Arbella Stuart, and her still-contemporary choices: safe solitude, fashionable London, dangerous love. Her song-like poems draw on years of experience of bookkeeping and manual work in industry, of VAT, of trichloroethylene on ‘a thrumming lorry’.
The poems take readers to northern China winters and the damp heat of Hanoi. And always the countryside returns: its mud, its huge hares, its stubborn sun. After nine books, major prizes and national broadcasts, the rush of Brackenbury’s poems are a work in wonderful progress, full of surprises and renewals.
Alison brought the house down when she read to a packed house at Verve 2019. She is a wonderful poet and person who visits the festival as an audience member whenever she can.
Date: 28th February 2019
Extent: 216 pp