Winner of the Costa Book of the Year for her final collection, Inside the Wave, Helen Dunmore was as spellbinding storyteller in her poetry and in her prose. Her haunting narratives draw us into darkness, engaging our fears and hopes in poetry of rare luminosity, nowhere more so than in Inside the Wave, in its exploration of the borderline between the living and the dead – the underworld and the human living world – and the exquisitely intense being of both. All her poetry casts a bright, revealing light on the living world, by land and sea, on love, longing and loss. Counting Backwards is a retrospective covering ten collections written over four decades, bringing together all the poems she included in her earlier selection, Out of the Blue (2001), with all those from her three later collections, Glad of These Times (2007), The Malarkey (2012) and Inside the Wave (2017), along with a number of earlier poems.
We all felt this is a modern classic; a fantastic collection, life-affirming and uplifting. The poems carry powerful messages that speak to all of us. -- Wendy Holden * Chair of Judges, Costa Book of the Year 2017 * She was - first and last - a poet. Her first collection, The Apple Fall, was published when she was 30, her last, Inside the Wave, in April this year... Her last collection is her most spare and moving. Inside the Wave is smooth as a sea pebble and liminal - poised between life and death. -- Kate Kellaway * Guardian * Dunmore is a particularly lucid writer, and not simply because her poems are so often filled with the play of light. Her language is bare and clean; her forms balladic and unobtrusive... Dunmore seeks to draw attention, not to her mastery of craft, but to her subject and the intricate, original, patterns of her thought...These poems are light-boned, but strong: elegant, complex, fully-turned unions of image, thought and sound. In these times, we should be glad of this voice. -- Kate Clanchy * Guardian *
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