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Highgreen Arts

Penelope Shuttle

Sandgrain and Hourglass
By Penelope Shuttle

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Sandgrain and Hourglass

Poetry Book Society Recommendation

A poem can remove the thorn from any lion's paw – but by the same token a poet may have to ask the lion to tend her wound. Penelope Shuttle's new collection, Sandgrain and Hourglass, charts a variety of transactions between poet-self and wound, between wound and beast. A major preoccupation is her continuing experience of loss, particularly the way time modulates and redefines grief.

Some aspects of human experience can be too painful or difficult to bear except through poetry. As Ted Hughes said, 'poetry is a way of speaking to people we’ve lost when it is too late'. In these poems – as in her previous book Redgrove's Wife – Shuttle continues such conversations with her husband Peter Redgrove, her father Jack Shuttle, and her close friend L.H.S., among others.

Her engagement with the world's manifold possibilities is also strongly present in Sandgrain and Hourglass… A machine for grading kisses? Edward Thomas translated into Japanese? A stolen reindeer? Faust? Francis Bacon's mirror? Bedtime? The possibilities are endless.

'…Shuttle's originality is everywhere evident, her response to loss both surprising and moving' – Stephen Knight, Independent on Sunday

'A brave collection….Grief brings a new directness to her work, but this is also a joyful inventory of what remains' – Glyn Goodwin, Books Pick of the Year, Financial Times

'A wonderful book of poetry of love and loss by Penelope Shuttle about her late husband, poet Peter Redgrove. It spoke to me very strongly, having lost my own husband not so long ago' - Maureen Lipman, Daily Express

'Her poems of mourning...are among the best she has written' - Elaine Feinstein, The Times

'Her language is worked into something as fluid, slippery and refreshing as a spring. She writes with a buoyant, graceful confidence and she is a unique voice in contemporary British poetry’ – PBS Bulletin

Penelope Shuttle reads 'Missing You'

Penelope Shuttle reads her long poem 'Missing You' from Redgrove's Wife. This film is from the DVD-book In Person: 30 Poets filmed by Pamela Robertson-Pearce, edited by Neil Astley.  For more details go to:

£8.95  paperback 
1 85224 882 3.  128pp. 2010. 

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Other books by Penelope Shuttle:
Redgrove's Wife
Unsent (ebook)