Shortlisted for the Roehampton Poetry Prize
People we love die. And at the heart of the grief there’s a sense of wonder: we can’t believe it, where have they gone, what are they now, what does that make us? We end up wondering at life too. Death takes us to the edge of living; grief leads us to question the very limits and designs of life itself.
Greta Stoddart’s third collection Alive Alive O follows the human impulse to make sense of our mortality. Death is reconfigured not so much to console us but as a way of playing out different scenarios, trying for variants in metaphor and meaning, that we may better accept it. But for all their focus and attention on death these are not poems of despair. In their intensity and spirit our mortal life becomes a thing to behold, even in – or because of – the face of death.
Reviews of Alive Alive O:
‘Greta Stoddart sets transience against endurance: the certainty of human mortality against the mysteries of forbearance.’ – David Harsent, Chair of Judges, Roehampton Poetry Prize
‘Stoddart honors the ancient pulse of our art, and in doing so proves her mettle, wisdom, and craft.’ – Adam Tavel, Plume (USA)
‘Colloquial, faintly unruly, the poems travel light on adventures of consciousness, channelling the energies of a big, agnostic imagination into new forms.’ – Carol Rumens, Poetry Review
‘When not confronting life and death as we most vividly encounter them, Stoddart’s poems suggest the ways in which our mortality is ever-present in daily life… Alive Alive O is a compelling book, defiant in the face of life’s losses.’ – Ben Wilkinson, Times Literary Supplement