A giant crane appears at the back windows of a residential street, its beam swinging freely, its red ‘eye’ seeming to overlook the lives on the other side of the glass. In her eighth collection of poems, Susan Wicks writes searchingly about our ordinary existence, its serendipities and unreliable sense-impressions, its delight in a new generation, its brief escapes – but this earthbound perspective is also part of an implicit dialogue. Under the crane new buildings spring up, seasons shift, perspective varies, until, its work completed, the giant machine is ready to be driven away. By the time it leaves, the landscape we knew will have changed and we too will have moved on.
‘Opening a book of poetry to find a building site safety notice announcing the presence of a crane which will point itself in the direction of the prevailing wind is the first of many surprises in this ingenious collection. Throughout, the crane swings over the residential area in which it is situated, seemingly scrutinising with its red ‘eye’, and is apostrophised in a series of prose poems headed ‘Dear Crane’, the focal point for a brilliantly realised neighbourhood, the woman and her grandchild at the centre of it, and the passage of time... A fascinating and beautiful collection.’ - Frank Startup, The School Librarian
‘Wicks can be both a fearless and arrestingly tender kind of writer, unafraid of taking a thought into uncomfortable, raw or unexpected places.’ – Paul Farley, PBS Bulletin, on House of Tongues
‘Wicks’s poems have a magnificently physical presence… She presents a world which is grounded in reality…but still distinctly susceptible to metamorphosis…not confined to the narrowness of one lifetime, but attentive to the ebb and flow of all life, to all the things that must come round again.’ – Chloe Stopa-Hunt, The Poetry Review on The Months
‘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.
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