Jane Clarke’s third collection is far-reaching and yet precisely rooted in time and place. In luminous language her poems explore how people, landscape and culture shape us. Voices of the past and present reverberate with courage and resilience in the face of poverty, prejudice, war and exile and the everyday losses of living. Across six sequences these intimate poems of unembellished imagery accrue power and resonance in what is essentially a book of love poems to our beautiful, fragile world. A Change in the Air follows Jane Clarke's widely praised previous collections The River (2015) and When the Tree Falls (2019).
'The poems are plain-spoken and restrained: they resist easy consolation. Their austerity serves to intensify the unmediated emotion they almost don’t want to capture… a poem might be born of personal loss, but, once completed and published, it has entered a different timespan, and becomes the forge where other minds are shaped and brightened.' – Carol Rumens, on When the Tree Falls, Poem of the Week, The Guardian
'Her observation of nature is...precise, her poems are…honed to the bone. Clarke knows exactly how much to withhold so that the understated artful phrases echo eloquently across the white space of the unsaid.' – Martina Evans, The Irish Times
'A poet who blends the contemporary with a great sense of the ancient and the rural… There is no sentimentality, no ornamentation; every word is incredibly honed and carries a really deep emotional weight.' – Jessica Traynor, speaking on RTE Radio 1's Arena (Poetry books of 2019)
‘The Irish poet Jane Clarke has followed a great debut collection with an even better second book. When the Tree Falls talks about her farming father in his last years. It delivers a clean, hard-earned simplicity and a lovely sense of line.’ – Anne Enright, The Irish Times (Books of the Year 2019)
‘When the Tree Falls confirms Jane Clarke’s position as one of the most rewarding poets in these islands: she knows how to cut a line, how to shape words to the right instrument and then to make that thing sing.’ – Tony Curtis, Poetry Wales (Poetry Books of the Year 2019)
‘Clarke has clearly paid the closest attention to the lives and worlds around her. Though there is a deep sadness in many of these poems, there is also a lightness and a willingness to let tenderness and humour shine through… Clarke delicately attends to the rhythms and textures of life, weaving themes together in a subtle and carefully-constructed work.’ – Julie Morrissy, Poetry Ireland Review on When the Tree Falls
Jane Clarke reads from When the Tree Falls
Jane Clarke reads and introduces twelve poems from When the Tree Falls: ‘Copper Soles’, ‘you pull yourself up’, ‘Those days’, ‘The Polling Station’, ‘The Hurley-maker’, ‘The trouble’, ‘Hers’, ‘Map’, ‘I’ve got you’, ‘Cypress’, ‘Aftergrass’ and ‘Kelly’s Garden’. Neil Astley filmed her reading selections from her two Bloodaxe collections at her home in Glenmalure in April 2019.
Jane Clarke reads from The River
Jane Clarke reads and introduces six poems from The River: ‘Daily Bread’, ‘The Blue Bible’, ‘Vows’, ‘Who owns the fields’, ‘On the Boat’ and ‘The River’. Neil Astley filmed her reading selections from her two Bloodaxe collections at her home in Glenmalure in April 2019.
Washington DC launch for Jane Clarke's When the Tree Falls
Jane Clarke's reading at NYU Washington, DC in October 2019, part of her US tour organised by Solas Nua. Jane read poems from her latest book, When the Tree Falls, and took questions from the audience. She also read four poems from All the Way Home, her illustrated booklet of poems in response to a First World War family archive held in the Mary Evans Picture Library, London (Smith|Doorstop, April 2019). She began and ended her reading with poems from her debut collection The River.
Jane Clarke live at Ledbury Poetry Festival
Jane Clarke reads and introduces a selection of her poems at Ledbury Poetry Festival on Friday 8th July 2017, when she shared the stage with fellow Irish poets Rita Ann Higgins and Louis de Paor. The poems she reads are from her Bloodaxe collection The River plus new work. Filmed by Pamela Robertson-Pearce.
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