Shortlisted for the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize
Maiden Speech was the debut collection by Eleanor Brown, a witty poet who writes powerfully of love, and hilariously of love's pitfalls, most notably in her much anthologised "girlfriend's revenge" poem, 'Bitcherel' (click on view extract below to read this).
'Eleanor Brown's breathtaking début collection… she displays the sharp wit of a Molière, with graceful, cerebral rhymes that leave a bitter aftertaste. Ever insightful and enormously funny, she juxtaposes moving descriptions with killer punchlines.' – Time Out
'Rarely have I read so refreshing and engaging a first collection. On display are wit, wordplay and an exhilarating flexibility of rhyme and rhythm. Alongside a barmaid's address to "the Lads" is a succulent celebration of a wedding-cake. Jaundiced Sirens laconically slide closing couplets in, like rapiers. A subtly sustained and cunningly crafted sonnet sequence, assessing an affair, comprises the last rites it abjures. Love's assumptions are laid bare after the manner of a female Catullus or Alceste. Mistress of the telling phrase, Eleanor Brown seems as joyously drawn to her themes, and their expression, "as music draws a dancer". ' – Stewart Conn