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A Change in the Air | Bloodaxe Books

Jane Clarke

A Change in the Air

Jane Clarke

Publication Date : 25 May 2023

ISBN: 9781780376592

Pages: 65
Size :216 x 138mm
Rights: World

Shortlisted for the Farmgate Café National Poetry Award 2024

Shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize 2023

Shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection 2023

Longlisted for The Laurel Prize 2023

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).

'A Change in the Air by Jane Clarke is a collection that deals with contemporary and historic rural life in Ireland, in particular its crafts and traditions. Set against accounts of queer love in a changing Ireland, these poems are musical, moving and true; each word chosen with deep care, each phrase made with a craftswoman’s precision.' – Jessica Traynor, for the Forward Prize 2023 Judges

'The title of Jane Clarke’s A Change in the Air rather neatly conjures the country dweller’s sensitivity to the slightest shift in the weather, literal or figurative, meteorological or emotional. Though she may be influenced by Patrick Kavanagh, by Ted Hughes, and by Alice Oswald, Jane Clarke manages to plow her own furrow in poems of farm and family life that are notable for their attentiveness to, and delight in, the telling detail.' – Paul Muldoon (with Sasha Dugdale and Denise Saul), T.S. Eliot Prize 2023 judges' comment

A Change in the Air, Jane Clarke’s third collection, is a quiet, stoical meditation on fragility and mortality. Humanity takes its place within the rhythms of a natural world built on acceptance, community, and renewal. The title promises the best kind of revolution: freshness and wholesomeness – and the poems which follow deliver on this … In Jane Clarke’s hands, clarity, purity and strength speak for themselves. Her words are weighed and used sparingly.  They take your breath away.’ – John Field, T.S. Eliot Prize Reviewer

‘The still calm at the heart of Jane Clarke’s poems is the key to their extraordinary emotive power. Sufficiently detached to enable reflection, yet infused with the light of a daughter’s love, Clarke’s poems navigate a passage through a rural Irish landscape whose beauty is bound up indivisibly with the easy intuition of those who inhabit it and whose seasonally changeful, and comfortingly changeless, appearance is a conduit to meditation.’ – Steve Whitaker, The Yorkshire Times (Book Review Round-Up: 2023)

‘And in Irish poetry I am so pleased to see the success and acclaim for a former University of Glamorgan Masters alumna, Jane Clarke, whose new collection, A Change in the Air, is as good as anything from the UK this year’ – Tony Curtis, The Lonely Crowd (Books of the Year 2023)

'Jane Clarke is a revelation. Her poems are concise, often in elegant honed couplets and triolets – perfectly shaped, deftly crafted, well controlled and tempered – and her line endings are masterful, holding the moment in a breath before releasing the connecting thought.' – Maggie Mackay, The Friday Poem, introducing her in-depth review of A Change in the Air

'Held together / by gravity and friction, hearted by handfuls of spalls,' A Change in the Air is tightly packed, taking shards of pain and piecing them together to form a cohesive collection which is rooted in tenderness. Exploring what it means to connect with each other and our surroundings against a shifting cultural background, Clarke's poems are filled with quiet moments of humanity and a constant respect for her subject matter ... Since Clarke describes her work as 'word music,' it is fitting the way this describes the collection itself. A Change in the Air is made up of six sequences and darts like the cormorant between ideas. Closing with powerful images that encapsulate the content, these poems linger like the disruption of water in the reader's mind ... Considering the scope of this collection, it could easily become disconnected, but instead the reader is continuously grounded by that which surrounds us: neighbours, rivers, and the resilient heather. Across both time and place, Clarke shows us that taking care of the land is taking care of each other, is taking care of ourselves. With its ambiguous title, A Change in the Air is asking us to engage with what that means as our environmental situation changes.' – Evelyn Byrne, reviewing A Change in the Air for the T.S. Eliot Prize Young Critics Scheme

'It is a really beautiful collection. I am moved to find all those flowers and birds so precisely placed, the farmstead nooks and crannies, the delicately nuanced explorations of big themes – the Great War, neighbourly gestures at a time of sectarian entanglement – generous pictures of [Jane Clarke's] soul-landscape, love poems. Collections of this quality are very rare.’ – Michael Longley, on A Change in the Air

'Two very different poetry collections are keeping my bedside table happy, Ocean Vuong’s thrilling Time is a Mother and Jane Clarke’s A Change of Air. Some of Clarke’s work, in particular, is so close to the way I am thinking now about care and compassion, I feel recognised and lifted by her lines.' – Anne Enright, The Irish Times (The best books of 2023 so far)

‘The delight and haunting memorability of the elegies that open her excellent third book of poems, A Change in the Air, can partly be explained by an ability to turn moments of steady objectivity into disclosures of emotion and insight … Clarke finds an archetypal purpose for her timely preoccupations, and local points of crossover between ordinary and extraordinary experience.  In this clear-flowing book, she seeks to get whole valleys onto the page, and to dwell in elemental magic, and she deserves to be celebrated for it.’ – Martin Dyar, Poetry Ireland Review

'In Jane Clarke's A Change in the Air her characteristic understated style is more pared back than ever ... a subtle collection' – Martina Evans, The Irish Times

‘… outstanding lyrical poems of place and heart … Clarke’s poems are above all else accessible, and in being so, the poet honours her reader. She removes a language blind, bringing us to the beating heart of her work. A Change in the Air is a generous collection by a poet resolute but gentle in the matter of emotional truth.’ – Eleanor Hooker, Books Ireland

‘What animates Jane Clarke are love and endurance: artfully calibrated, each section of A Change in the Air is an emotional complement to the next, for each poem hangs on one, or sometimes several, exquisitely clarified observations of landscape and of the figures in it, magnified as if through water. The two are in any case indivisible – the agricultural terrain is presented as a series of potent images whose significance is a measure of the unseen connection anchoring people to the world that made them.’ – Steve Whitaker, Yorkshire Times

'This week's poem is by the Irish poet Jane Clarke. Her work has a clarity and precision to it, a matter-of-factness that helps give form to the depth and weight of the words, which explore everyday living, past and present, and what shapes us as humans.' – The Scotsman, Poem of the Week, on 'Pit Ponies of Glendasan' from A Change in the Air

‘Her delicacy of expression, her minutely-observed descriptions, her almost teasing understatements, all bring delight ... Clarke appears to relish the opportunity to draw with a fine pencil, as she offers precise descriptions of ordinary events and experiences.’ – Alwyn Marriage, London Grip, on A Change in the Air

'Critical to Clarke’s celebrated third collection, A Change in the Air, is how land bears witness to history. Shortlisted, at the time of writing, for this year’s T.S. Eliot Prize, Forward Prize for Best Collection and longlisted for the Laurel Prize, the politics seep through like water in a bog. The voice avoids the rant and is more seductive and convincing for it.' - Lisa Kelly, Magma

‘… this is a very full collection. It has a very striking range and depth. It has the sense of worlds lived in, families, societies … poems about reality, about the world we live in and conveyed in … particularly polished language …’. – Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, introducing A Change in the Air at the book’s launch in Dublin on 25 May 2023.

‘Her verse attends so closely to the land and the people of her rural homeland that it makes us attend more closely to our own. This summer she published A Change in the Air, a collection that glides gently from caring for her mother to remembering the Troubles to moving into a new house in the countryside.’ – Ron Charles, The Washington Post Book Club newsletter


Jane Clarke reads ‘Pit Ponies of Glendasan’ from A Change in the Air for the T.S. Eliot Prize readings series.

Jane Clarke reads ‘Recipe for a Bog’ from A Change in the Air for the T.S. Eliot Prize readings series.

Jane Clarke reads ‘Spalls’ from A Change in the Air for the T.S. Eliot Prize readings series.

Jane Clarke talks about her collection A Change in the Air for the T.S. Eliot Prize readings series.

Jane Clarke read her poem 'Dressing My Mother for Her Grandson's Wedding' from A Change in the Air for a Books Ireland feature.

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.


Ireland: Click here to order from Books Upstairs in Dublin

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BOOKS BY Jane Clarke

The River

Jane Clarke

The River

Publication Date : 25 Jun 2015

Read More
When the Tree Falls

Jane Clarke

When the Tree Falls

Publication Date : 26 Sep 2019

Read More

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Jane Clarke's A Change in the Air: reviews, interviews & Books of the Year 2023

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