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Earth House | Bloodaxe Books

Matthew Hollis

Earth House

Matthew Hollis

Publication Date : 27 Apr 2023

ISBN: 9781780375625

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

In Earth House, Matthew Hollis evokes the landscape, language and ecology of the isles of Britain and Ireland to explore how our most intimate moments have resonance in the wider cycle of life. Beginning in the slate waters of the north, the book revolves around the cardinal points and the ancient elements: through the wide skies of the east and the terrain of a southern city, to the embers of places lost to us, to which we can no longer return.

What emerges is a moving meditation on time and the transformative phases of nature that calls many forces into its presence – the wisdoms of Anglo-Saxon verse, the metamorphoses of Norse and Celtic myth, the stoicism of classical thought and the far east – unforgettably phrased by a writer who, in the words of the TLS, ‘makes the language of his poetry an event in itself’. Subtly attuned to the rhythms of the turning world, these poems open with the passing of an old life and culminate in the birth of a new one. They bravely work the seam between the present and the past, between destruction and renewal, humanity and our environment, and make Earth House a timeless exploration of our timed encounter with the remarkable lives of our planet.

Earth House is Matthew Hollis’s long awaited follow up to Ground Water (2004), shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the Whitbread Poetry Award. He is the author of Now All Roads Lead to France: The Last Years of Edward Thomas (2011), winner of the Costa Award for Biography and Sunday Times Biography of the Year, and The Waste Land: A Biography of a Poem (2022).

'An impressive debut…the metaphorical language is finely judged, touching both the landscapes and the people crawling its surface with a shrewd but never less than sympathetic gaze.’ – D.J. Taylor, The Guardian, on Ground Water

‘Matthew Hollis shows an impressive confidence in the promptings of the imagination and no desire at all to ingratiate himself. Craft, not attitude, is what counts. Poems are sometimes called “quiet” when really they’re inaudible. His are genuinely quiet, drawing in the ear to enjoy, for example, his artful rendering in slowed folk-song rhythm of the terror and excitement of floods.’ – Sean O'Brien, The Sunday Times, on Ground Water

'Affecting, redolent with sorrow but resolutely tough-minded.' – David Harsent, Poetry Book Society Bulletin

'Hollis writes a knowing, lyrical poetry set against a landscape of big skies and battened-down horizons. He combines worldly wisdom with more detailed, vernacular understanding to produce poems that speak with a sense of purpose and place.' – Simon Armitage

Matthew Hollis: Ground Water

Matthew Hollis introduces and reads four poems from Ground Water: ‘Wintering’, ‘The Fielder’, ‘And let us say’ and ‘The Sour House’. He was teaching a residential poetry course with Anthony Dunn at Highgreen Manor next door to Bloodaxe’s former Tarset office in the summer of 2007 when we managed to grab him during a break in proceedings to read us the poems included in Pamela Robertson-Pearce’s film, which is from the DVD-anthology In Person: World Poets, filmed & edited by Pamela Robertson-Pearce and Neil Astley (2017). 


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Ground Water

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The Annotated Collected Poems





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