Winner of the 2017 Griffin Prize
Winner of the 2016 Costa Poetry Award
Shortlisted for the 2016 T. S. Eliot Award
Shortlisted for the 2016 Forward Prize
A Daily Telegraph / Guardian / Herald / New Statesman / Sunday Times / Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year
Alice Oswald’s poems are always vivid and distinct, alert and deeply, physically, engaged in the natural world. Mutability – a sense that all matter is unstable in the face of mortality – is at the heart of this new collection and each poem is involved in that drama: the held tension that is embodied life, and life’s losing struggle with the gravity of nature.
Working as before with an ear to the oral tradition, these poems attend to the organic shapes and sounds and momentum of the language as it’s spoken as well as how it’s thought: fresh, fluid and propulsive, but also fragmentary, repetitive. These are poems that are written to be read aloud.
Orpheus and Tithonus appear at the beginning and end of this book, alive in an English landscape, stuck in the clockwork of their own speech, and the Hours – goddesses of the seasons and the natural apportioning of Time – are the presiding figures. The persistent conditions are flux and falling, and the lines are in constant motion: approaching, from daring new angles, our experience of being human, and coalescing into poems of simple, stunning beauty.
She says that poetry is what happens when language becomes impossible. If you've never read her - get this collection now. -- Jeanette Winterson * Guardian, Book of the Year * [A] modern classic. -- Jeremy Noel-Tod * Sunday Times, Book of the Year * A miraculous collection. -- Kate Kellaway * Observer, Book of the Year * A liminal text... Unmistakably original. -- Craig Raine * Times Literary Supplement, Book of the Year * A sublime poet of the natural world. -- Rupert Thomson * Herald, Book of the Year * An astonishing book of beauty, intensity and poise - a revelation...The collection's title is spot on. I cannot think of any poet who is more watchful or with a greater sense of gravity. -- Kate Kellaway * Observer * Stunning. Is she now our greatest living poet[?]... Her work is commanding... She is less twinkly-eyed than Simon Armitage, more committed to experimentation than Duffy and just as playful...as Don Paterson. For sheer, sustained invention and intellectual rigour, her work is perhaps closest to Kei Miller... If there's any justice in the poetry world, the title [Poet Laureate] should be offered to this gardener-classicist who is bringing the British landscape to life in poetry again. -- Charlotte Runcie * Daily Telegraph * The pieces included here are held together by Oswald's luminous, almost alien powers of observation. -- Yasmine Seale * Literary Review * Magic, the music of nature, the resurrection of the dead: all these feel real when you read Alice Oswald. Her stunning new collection deserves the Forward Prize. * Sunday Telegraph * [It] confirms her as one of the most gifted English poets of the past 20 years. -- Jeremy Noel-Todd * Sunday Times * She is a classicist and a gardener, an expert in the epic tradition and a riverside wanderer... Falling Awake provides the notation for an immersive aural experience; its current existence as a printed collection is not the incarnation for which it will be most celebrated, should Oswald choose to record it as a performance... It is certainly a strong contender in this year's Forward Prizes, and a highly compelling meditation upon transience. -- Phil Brown * Huffington Post * She not only makes some startlingly original imaginative leaps, but also manages to find the word to describe the scene when she lands. -- Roger Cox * Scotland on Sunday * It does not disappoint... Fierce in the quality of her attention, often metaphorically dazzling, Oswald earns our trust through her authority. -- Fiona Sampson * Guardian * Falling Awake continues to mine a fresh, inventive seam of observational poetry, tuned in to revelation and a feeling for those moments when the world seems to become strangely, truly itself. Oswald's best poems bear comparison with D. H. Lawrence's late work. -- John McAuliffe * Irish Times * [It is] Terrific. -- Mark Ford * Times Literary Supplement, Book of the Year *
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