Shortlisted for the Forward Prize Best First Collection
Joanne Limburg wears comic camouflage to stalk serious subjects, from envy and guilt to bereavement and its tangled aftermath. Her often boisterous poems celebrate the deﬁant vulnerability of modern women, exploring their lives as daughters, mothers, friends and rivals, as well as the never-ending struggle to keep body and soul on speaking terms, while under attack from within and without – whether by boredom, depression, insomnia, indigestion, oppression, mirrors, misogyny or just other people.
Her poems address the experience of being a Jew in the West at this point in history, with an awareness of the debt she owes to stubborn and resilient ancestors. This sense of a rich inheritance is reflected in her voice, which draws on English-language poetry but also on nursery rhymes and everyday speech, on hymns remembered from school and the cadences of synagogue and Jewish household ritual.
'That poetry collections should often outsell their shabby relatives – novels – is justified by Joanne Limburg’s first. For years now, I have believed Limburg brilliantly pushes the emotional and intellectual poetic buttons we all recognise: family, gender, bereavement, Giacometti and wolf whistles! Often mercurial, wry, mysterious or very funny, these uncluttered poems witness a deeply talented, often profound voice at work.' – Alan Warner
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