To be alive is to be inside the wave, always travelling until it breaks and is gone. These poems are concerned with the borderline between the living and the dead – the underworld and the human living world – and the exquisitely intense being of both. They possess a spare, eloquent lyricism as they explore the bliss and anguish of the voyage.
Inside the Wave is Helen Dunmore’s first new poetry book since The Malarkey (2012), whose title-poem won the National Poetry Competition. Her other books include Glad of These Times (2007), and Out of the Blue: Poems 1975-2001 (2001), a comprehensive selection drawing on seven previous collections.
‘This traffic between the everyday and mortality requires a perfect control of tone, neither sententious nor sentimental in this familiar setting… In its uninsistent but authoritative way, The Malarkey is a condition-of-England book, driven by a concern for those who have little purchase on their own lives… The Malarkey is Helen Dunmore's best collection, the work of a grown-up for grown-ups who will remember what in the nature of things they've had to lose and what nevertheless they seek to celebrate' - Sean O'Brien, Guardian.
‘What is wonderful is the unusual way her steadiness as a writer serves as a foil to the mysterious. She prefers to show, not tell…The passing of time is crucial in this collection and especially its most violent trick of making years disappear in a moment…a collection filled with extraordinary, incorporeal moments and with vanishing acts…The personal poems are superb and anything but self-indulgent' – Kate Kellaway, The Observer.
‘Her latest collection is a clear-eyed, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, meditation on time past and people lost…a superbly structured collection in which poems echo and answer each other' – Suzi Feay, Independent on Sunday.
Helen Dunmore reads two poems
Helen Dunmore reads two poems, 'Wild strawberries' from Out of the Blue: Poems 1975-2001 (Bloodaxe Books, 2001) and 'Glad of these times' from Glad of These Times (Bloodaxe Books, 2007). This film is from the DVD-book In Person: 30 Poets, filmed by Pamela Robertson-Pearce, edited by Neil Astley, which includes six poems read by Helen Dunmore.