In The Blue Den, people travel along the edges of roads, landscapes and emotions. The poems give voice to a stream under ice, a flooded road, and an ant beneath the sky. Strongly visual and imaginative, these poems explore the edges of memory, the mutual dependency of man and nature. Stephanie Norgate’s second collection celebrates the power of intense looking and making, whether meditating on refugees in an oarless boat or Giacometti working restlessly at the figure of a strange walker. These poems inhabit marginal, unsung and free experiences: plastic bags along a road or the return of children over a lake. The underside resonates with strange vivid beauty.
The Blue Den is a book of lyrical, sensuous poems which builds on the achievement of Stephanie Norgate's debut collection Hidden River, which was shortlisted for both the Forward First Collection Prize and the Jerwood Aldeburgh First Collection Prize.
'The poems in The Blue Den possess a brooding, magnetism which draws us into a drowned ship, a slow-worm’s narrow skull or the hand-clasp of an orang-utan. The beauty of imagery and rhythm is matched by the subtlety of the poet’s thought' – Helen Dunmore.
‘Hidden River attempts to explore the barely perceptible and the fragile vicissitudes of human experience. In particular many of the poems draw on the liminal relation between the natural world and our own, combining craft and an unrehearsed sensibility to produce inventive, and often energetic, results…various, resourceful and often rewardingly delicate, Hidden River is an estimable debut’ – Ben Wilkinson, TLS.
‘Hidden River is the work of a confident, skilful and erudite writer… Norgate’s poems begin so simply, and trawl such complex and resonant depths…searching, memorable, disconcerting… Despite its usually conversational tone, Norgate’s writing is lyrical. She has the ear for the music of a line…and for the shape and strength of an image. But Norgate is above all a brave writer, and I salute her courage. She’s energetic, adventurous, genuinely talented, and she has something to say. Hidden River is a very fine first collection, and I hope there will be many more' – R.V. Bailey, Envoi
‘An absolutely stunning first collection, combining craft and passion. The poems encompass many subjects, from powerful and moving poems about grief and loss, to sensual love poems, poems about history and place, to poems that reach out into the worlds of art, literature and politics. They are united by a sense of something secret and undiscovered being revealed and by a very distinctive, lyrical voice. The precariousness of human experience is balanced by a precisely observed vision of the natural world’ – Vicki Feaver