Shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection
How to Disappear shines a torch into the dark corners and finds a world inhabited by the missing and the dead, by monsters and wounded beasts, discarded dreams and the memories of strangers – a trawl through the apparently empty spaces and what might be found there.
At its heart is the narrative sequence Room of Leaves. It is 1959. Grace, at last, falls in love. Jilted at the altar, she sets up home in the garden of her mother’s bungalow and waits, for thirty years, in a world of birds and bright umbrellas, for Frank to return…
Dalton’s poetry is a kind of ghost writing – as if she can revisit herself, stand there among memories, real and imagined, and be haunted by her own presence. The effect is haunting' – Simon Armitage.
'How to Disappear is dark, funny, wise, terrifying. Dalton’s wit peels away painful layers in her search for the truth – a welcome antidote to the self-conscious smartness which mars much contemporary poetry. She is searingly matter-of-fact about the most painful recesses of the human heart and has found a constellation of astonishing images to tell her stories. This may be Dalton’s first book but she dances round every corner with a grace that many more seasoned writers would die for’– Jo Shapcott.
‘Dalton looks in the face of despair and tells its story with unnerving calm’ – Siân Hughes, TES.
‘She seeks out the fractured minds and lives that live in darkness and reconstructs them with tenderness and skill’ – Tracey Herd, Stand.
How to Disappear was chosen as one of the Poetry Book Society's Next Generation Poets titles in 2004.
Not currently available: reprint under consideration