Poetry Book Society Recommendation
Susan Wicks’ poetry transforms the apparently ordinary into something precise, surprising and revelatory. The new poems of Night Toad move outwards from the intimacy of personal loss to a wider landscape haunted by disappearance – a French Flanders still scarred by successive wars, the woman penfriend of a prisoner on Death Row, an old woman with dementia lost in the woods, the absent keeper of an unmanned Cornish lighthouse.
As well as a whole new collection, the volume also includes a generous selection of work from Susan Wicks’ three previous books of poems, Singing Underwater (1992), Open Diagnosis (1994) and The Clever Daughter (1996).
Since the publication of Night Toad in 2003, Susan Wicks has published three subsequent collections, De-iced (2007) and House of Tongues (2011) and The Months (2016).
‘She has written powerfully on the body, childhood, domestic relationships, sex, illness and death, in a visionary style that combines silkily woven word-textures with oddly astringent transitions between thought and image.’ – Ruth Padel, Independent on Sunday
‘A poet of deceptive power, who can transmute everyday objects and events into poems with an understated numinous edge.' – Kathleen Jamie, PBS Bulletin.
‘A fine poet, with an eye for detail and a gift for conveying the earthiness of everyday experience.’ – Jo Shapcott, Independent on Sunday.
‘Few poets writing today go into [family, its personal ties and sorrows] in so detailed and tender a way. Or so frighteningly.’ – Alan Brownjohn, Sunday Times
Susan Wicks reads eight poems
Susan Wicks reads eight poems: 'Ha Ha Bonk', 'Buying Fish', 'The Clever Daughter', 'Persephone', 'My Father's Handkerchiefs' and 'Night Toad' from Night Toad: New & Selected Poems (2003), followed by two poems from her 2011 collection House of Tongues, 'Pistachios' and 'Cycling to See the Fish-ladder'. Pamela Robertson-Pearce filmed Susan Wicks at the Arvon Foundation's centre at Totleigh Barton in Devon in November 2009.