Say Something Back
Say Something Back will allow readers to see just why the name of Denise Riley has been held in such high regard by her fellow poets for so long. The book reproduces A Part Song, a profoundly moving document of grieving and loss, and one of the most widely admired long poems of recent years. Elsewhere these poems become a space for contemplation of the natural world and of physical law, and for the deep consideration of what it is to invoke those who are absent. But finally, they extend our sense of what the act of human speech can mean – and especially what is drawn forth from us when we address our dead. Lyric, intimate, acidly witty, unflinchingly brave, Say Something Back is a deeply moving book by one of our finest poets, and one destined to introduce Riley’s name to a wide new readership.
It sometimes seems that contemporary poetry divides into two sorts - those poems that did not need to be written and those written out of necessity. Denise Riley belongs to the second category - her writing is perfectly weighted, justifies its existence. It is impossible not to want to "say something back" to each of her poems in recognition of their outstanding quality. Her voice is strong and beautiful - an imperative in itself . . . remarkable * Guardian * The best thing I've read in ages -- Max Porter, author of Grief Is the Thing with Feathers Denise Riley's Say Something Back shows how grief keeps a different clock and is a churning yet exhilarating (because the poems are so good) exploration of loss. Her poetry gets to the heart -- Jackie Kay * Guardian * I have been a fan of Denise Riley's for decades, and Say Something Back shows her working at her peak in a collection that is as rewarding as it is challenging -- John Burnside * Herald * Denise Riley's collection Say Something Back , which includes her heart-piercing elegy to her son Jacob, 'A Part Song': the most powerful contemporary poem I've read in years. -- Robert Macfarlane She's one of the best poets around -- Simon Armitage The best thing I've read in ages. -- Sarah Perry, author of The Essex Serpent
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