Runner-up for the Edwin Morgan Poetry Award 2016
Miriam Nash spent her early years on the Isle of Erraid off the west coast of Scotland, where Robert Louis Stevenson’s family once worked as lighthouse engineers. Voices of the island echo through her first collection, All the Prayers in the House, which holds at its heart the rupture and re-imagining of a family.
Bold, honest, playful and inventive, the collection travels far from its coastal beginnings, crossing the Atlantic, visiting a women’s prison and a 17th-century ladies dictionary. Here are poems of ritual and transgression, safety and danger. They take the form of songs, letters, fragments, formal verse – many kinds of prayer perhaps, for many kinds of storm.
'Miriam Nash’s work is thematically satisfying, energetic and dynamic. These anarchic poems are the product of an original and febrile mind. A blast.' – Jackie Kay, Edwin Morgan Poetry Award 2016
'Miriam Nash's poems provide pleasure through the variety and veracity of their subject matter, her insight and freshness of approach, and the warmth she breathes into them. Through subtle shifts of key and perspective they remain touchingly accessible, whether recapturing girlhood fears and vulnerabilities or creating semi-dream worlds, as when corresponding with RLS. Equally at ease with a broken line and traditional ballad form, her often quirky ways of seeing are enhanced by the lightsomeness of a songstress.' – Stewart Conn, Edwin Morgan Poetry Award 2016
‘An already mature voice exploring with great precision our painstaking routines.’ – Daljit Nagra
‘In the lyrical All the Prayers in the House, Miriam Nash sings of seals and lighthouses... and the curious dance of divorce. She grew up on the Isle of Erraid, where Robert Louis Stevenson once lived. She writes to him. He writes back. It’s lovely.’ – Tristram Fane Saunders, The Daily Telegraph (Poetry Books of the Year)
‘Poetry collections I've found memorable for their invigorating content, crafted cadences and elegiac overtones are Douglas Dunn's long-awaited The Noise of a Fly (Faber & Faber), as sage, lyrically adroit and close to the heart as ever; All the Prayers in the House (Bloodaxe Books) in which Miriam Nash evokes real and dream worlds, with an enriching undertow of balladry; and Alyson Hallett's hilariously touching sequence Toots (Mariscat Press). Each, strikingly individual, demands re-reading.’ – Stewart Conn, The Herald (Books of the Year)
‘All the Prayers in the House (runner up for the Edwin Morgan Prize 2016) is truly a voice of the sea – at once young and ancient with a singing quality, currents of gentleness and passion fluctuating by turns… Nash’s heartbreakingly precise descriptions of the everyday details which creep into life’s deeper troubles… add a unique clarity and poignancy to territory many of us would recognise.’ – Clare Mulley, The Skinny
‘It’s in the poems charting hard truths – particularly those that deal with marital infidelity, fractured families and depression – that the collection really soars. There are moments of such precision and insight, such clarity, that my heart lurched from one truth-unlocking image to the next. It’s dangerous stuff, poetry this good…. This is a heart-breaking and exquisite collection.’ - Manor Magazine South West
‘I was enthralled by Miriam Nash’s poems. They left me laughing, with incredulous gratitude, at a marvellous joke, which I will not reveal. Do buy this first collection. Try not to turn, immediately, to its final blaze!’ – Alison Brackenbury, Poetry London [referring to the poem 'Love Song for a Keeper', which is read by Miriam below]
Miriam Nash live at Ledbury Poetry Festival
Miriam Nash won an Eric Gregory Award for her poetry in 2015 and read at Ledbury Poetry Festival in the annual Gregory Poets reading. The following day she got married. Exactly two years later she returned to Ledbury to launch her first collection, All the Prayers in the House, including the poem she recited at her wedding, ‘Love Song for a Keeper’. She shared a platform at Ledbury with Kayo Chingonyi on 8 July 2017. This video shows Miriam's complete set at Ledbury.
Miriam Nash reads 'Love Song for a Keeper
‘Love Song for a Keeper’ is the poem Miriam Nash wrote for her wedding in 2015. Now it’s included in her first collection, All the Prayers in the House. Here she reads the poem at the book’s launch reading at Ledbury Poetry Festival on 8 July 2017.