Ruth Fainlight is one of Britain's most distinguished poets. Born in New York City, she has lived mostly in England since the age of 15, publishing her first collection, Cages, in 1966. Her poems 'give us truly new visions of usual and mysterious events' (A.S. Byatt). Each is a balancing act between thought and feeling, revealing otherness within the everyday, often measuring subtle shifts in relationships between women and men.
Images of the moon, however interpreted – whether as stern and stony presence or protective maternal symbol – recur throughout her work. Peter Porter described one of her collections as having 'the steadiness and clarity of the moon itself'.
This substantial New & Collected Poems covers work written over 50 years, drawing on over a dozen books as well as a whole new collection. It also includes her translations of Sophia de Mello Breyner, Sophocles and Victor Manuel Mendiola.
'Her New & Collected Poems, representing half a century's work, asks us to read her writing life as a journey that never really ends, even with publication of a monumental achievement...an extraordinary maturity of voice and vision. The essential continuity of her work is immediately striking; the poems affirm her own sense of poetry (and life) as a constant happening, the past a perpetual present' – Fran Brearton, Guardian
'Ruth Fainlight has always been a painterly poet, sensuous and observant, who has paid particular attention to myth as it shapes destiny or gives meaning…the reader is aware of images being thought and felt through, the mind winding itself into narratives, prompted now by pain, now loss, now keen pleasure' – George Szirtes, Times Literary Supplement
Ruth Fainlight reads six poems
Ruth Fainlight reads six poems from her New & Collected Poems: ‘Passenger’, ‘Handbag’, ’The Crescent’, ‘Elegant Sybil’, ‘Opera in Holland Park’ and ’Chained Angel’. Neil Astley filmed her at her home in Notting Hill, London, in November 2011. This film is from the DVD-anthology In Person: World Poets, filmed & edited by Pamela Robertson-Pearce & Neil Astley (Bloodaxe Books, 2017).