Anne Rouse is a keenly observant writer of spiky satirical portraits and shapely lyrics of the ordinary and the bizarre. Her perspective in Ox-Eye – the term for a small cloud presaging a storm – is one of apprehension in poems relating to personal and social change. Ranging from her native east coast of America to her adopted home on the south coast of England, these incisive but often amused poems question how we view past and present, dismantling obsolete nostalgia, and casting a critical eye on what we wish for and what may happen instead.
Ox-Eye is her fifth collection from Bloodaxe, appearing 14 years after her previous book, The Upshot: New & Selected Poems, which included the new poems of The Divided (2008), along with selections from her first three critically acclaimed earlier collections, Sunset Grill (1993) and Timing (1997) – both Poetry Book Society Recommendations – and The School of Night (2004).
‘Anne Rouse’s poems are watchful and amused, sardonic and appalled. They are also in the best sense political: the big picture of our whole society informs her miniatures of city life where dossers and shopping jostle for attention alongside love and death.’ – Ruth Padel & Sean O’Brien, PBS Bulletin
‘Rouse has honed her craft further to produce some lovely focused lyrics with a wonderful development in her tone. The sureness of Rouse’s touch is a pleasure to read throughout and The School of Night is her most moving volume yet.’ – Andrew Neilson, Magma
‘…this powerful collection…The reader is surprised and pleased and informed by the conclusions the poet leads us to, by her often poignant humour and shocks of transcendence that are rooted in a natural and unforced realism.’ – Penelope Shuttle, Poetry London
‘Rouse writes…with such convinced skewing of the expected angles, and with such precise anger and sympathy, that one is inclined to believe her as well as to admire the poems.’ – Sean O'Brien, Sunday Times
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