Spiritlands invites you into a territory that is at once individual and plural. On the one hand, this is poetry about a personal geography, an eclectic landscape, space in which to be oneself and welcome who one chooses to express hospitality towards; on the other, these are poems all about hope, life and nature, about belonging to the whole world and asserting one’s right to a place and voice in it.
The drive of this collection is spirit in the sense of the courage it takes to true to one’s instincts. There is a timelessness to the poems in this book and a sense of what endures. Here is oneness with existence, an appreciation of the universe, a happiness that springs from standing on the globe and the feeling of being a living, breathing soul in it.
‘Sarah Wardle writes with great humanity and makes A Knowable World of the indignity, frustrations and fear of acute episodes of mental illness. That’s how she manages to get her readers to empathise with all those in the community, both in and out of hospital, who live with the stigma of madness’ – Rabbi Baroness Julia Neuberger.
'Sarah Wardle's previous collection, Score!, took readers on an exuberant tour of Tottenham Hotspur FC, where she spent time as writer-in-residence. The change of tenor in A Knowable World, which charts the reel and plunge of the year she spent in a psychiatric facility receiving treatment for bipolar disorder, could hardly be more pronounced. These are, necessarily, poems of deep introspection, in which manic episodes, escape attempts and the baffling helplessness of incarceration are examined with agonised honesty... these are convincing poems, delivered with a tight formality that echoes the strictures under which Wardle found herself, while at the same time providing her with a means of control over a terrifyingly ungovernable situation' - Sarah Crown, Guardian.