When knowledge is ours at the tap of a key, what is it we’re accumulating, and is it at the expense of another, more intuitive, kind of knowing?
The word ‘fool’ derives from the Latin follis, one of whose meanings is ‘empty-headed person’. Such mindlessness is not quite imaginable, but perhaps it is possible that by unknowing a thing we can start to see it differently. There’s a lot the fool doesn’t know – otherwise they wouldn’t be a fool – but can anyone be trusted to know anything?
A low-level hum of discordance runs through these poems: between inner and outer worlds, between the sceptical and the wondering mind. Ideas of belief and truth play out in various ways, often through lone figures, fools maybe, thinking aloud, continually distracted by the necessary performance of being.
Fool is Greta Stoddart’s fourth collection. Her third collection Alive Alive O was published by Bloodaxe in 2015.
‘What is knowable, and how things are known, are themes of the collection. The Fool, a figure whose consciousness it often explores, may see more clearly through a gaze uncluttered by received ideas.’ – Carol Rumens, The Guardian, Poem of the Week
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
‘…an exploration of grief that is both pensively elegiac and electrifyingly alive…These are poems that feel necessary, and that show how poetry can be part of dealing with the great change of life and death.’ – Alex Pryce, Mslexia
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