Winner of the Griffin International Poetry Prize
Gjertrud Schnackenberg is a major voice in American poetry. Supernatural Love shows the sensuous richness of her imaginatively daring poetry of ideas, and traces the evolution of this remarkable writer. Book by book, from an early mastery in which precision and heartbreak are inseparable, her poetry accelerates through the searching, dense, metaphysical imagery and cascading syntax which are her signature.
From her classic portrait of Darwin in the last year of his life, to the vertiginous brilliance of her elegy for the Byzantine monuments of Ravenna, she produces poems as visionary documents, unmistakable in their glittering range and passion but never the same twice. With singular devotion, Schnackenberg writes as if poetry were a matter of life and death.
Supernatural Love includes three collections previously published in Britain as well as The Throne of Labdacus, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry. This new book-length poem telling the story of Oedipus is a visionary work of profound and tragic beauty. Her later book, Heavenly Questions, winner of the Griffin International Poetry Prize, was published by Bloodaxe in Britain in 2011.
'I've just discovered a wonderful American poet called Gjertrud Schnackenberg - she really is called that - and I wish I had the time to catch up with everything she's done. I think she's brilliant.' - Clive James, speaking on BBC Two's Front Row Late: When Mary Beard met Clive James, December 2018
'Supernatural Love: Poems 1976–2000 teems with thought-packed things, and thing-packed thoughts’ – Clive James, Times Literary Supplement (Books of the Year, 2018)
'Poems that move me in a way that I don't really think I have experienced since I first read Rilke at 16 or 17. What a superb poet she is, and what a range of original sensibility, what private music, in the less well-worn emotions’ – Nadine Gordimer
'Schnackenberg has turned her erudition, technical mastery and objectivity to extraordinary account, and has set wide new sights for poets of her generation. She has cracked open the lyric of personal anecdote and set it in the light of history' – Rosanna Warren, The New Republic
'Profound, sweeping, emotional… One thinks of Blake’s insight, “Eternity is in love with the productions of time” ’ – Stephen Yenser, The Yale Review