A brilliant young woman poet joins the Cape list.
Though firmly rooted in the domestic, natural world, Jean Sprackland's poems are thrilling excursions into the lives that we live alongside our everyday ones: the lives we are aware of in dreams, in grief, in love. She shows us the vertigo and vulnerability of human experience with great clarity and precision, tenderness and care.
These are vivid poems full of light and weather and water: a flooded forest, acid rain, an inland tidal wave, an ocean of broken glass; jellyfish washed up on the beach that 'lay like saints/ unharvested, luminous'.
There is an arresting imagination at work here, one as relaxed and at home in an alternative world of babies in filing cabinets, light collectors or the visiting dead, as it is in the world we think we know: supermarkets, empty flats, the A580 from Liverpool to Manchester.
Lucid, sensuous and informed by an unusually tactile curiosity, the poems in Hard Water mark the assured arrival of an important poet.
“This collection establishes Jean Sprackland as a definite new talent. These poems in Hard Water have the exhilarating quality of freshness and truth: poems of memory and place, religion and childhood, captured with relish in a textured and physical language. Added to this are a gift for the colloquial and a subtle, sexy humour. This is a hugely enjoyable collection by a poet writing with clear gusto and authority. Buy it- and then buy it for a friend”
Carol Ann Duffy
“Jean Sprackland's poems reinvent the world with a wicked, michievous magic. Delighting in unsettling narratives and transformations, she turns the familiar landscape of everyday life into something instantly more compelling and mysterious- often anxious and troubling but always thrilling. There is an undeniable beauty at the dark heart of these poems”
“This is an exhilarating book; each poem a dazzling performance which shifts our perception of the world”