In The Conversation, Stephanie Norgate explores relationships between nature and the city, the past and present, and character and writer. Shaped through both speech and storytelling, these visual, sensuous and imaginative poems celebrate friendship, even in grief, closeness in times of isolation and lockdown, and the longing to bridge gaps and find cures. Miracles are found in the everyday, in a child’s sleep or a lit-up house. Textiles transform into remembrancers, landscape into emotion. A contemporary Daedalus views his life from a hang-glider. A scrap of handwriting, cafe talk, an exploding car, the naming of fields or a line of walkers ignite conversations about place, time and the tender paradoxes of mortality.
Stephanie Norgate’s first collection Hidden River (2008) was shortlisted for both the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and the Jerwood Aldeburgh First Collection Prize, and was followed by The Blue Den (2012). The Conversation is her third collection. Her poetry has been praised for the ‘depth of its lyricism’ (Jackie Wills, Warwick Review), and for being ‘energetic and generous, and displaying a ‘feeling for place, for the roots of things’ and for being ‘searching, memorable and disconcerting … She has the ear for the music of a line and the shape and strength of an image.’ (R.V. Bailey, Artemis).
‘She talks about the complexity of grief with beautiful and precise language entwined within the beauty of the landscape… Poems to return to time and again, in order to embrace their truth. Thoroughly recommended!’ – Adrienne Silcock, The High Window, on The Conversation
‘Norgate’s poetry is absolutely grounded in her detailed observations of the natural world around her, from which she often, but not always, reaches out into the concerns of the contemporary world. She…moves from the particular to the universal, with reflective observation at the core... a fine collection.’ – Diana Cant, The Alchemy Spoon, on The Conversation
‘The miraculous and precarious aspects of life are also considered through moments of wonder and recognition, imaginings and memory… A strong collection by an assured poet, The Conversation affirms the essential reciprocity of poetry where human voices meet and speak, welcoming each other.’ – Pauline Rowe, Orbis
'This is a richly textured collection which sixth form poetry societies and older students could spend many happy hours exploring. Beneath the contemporary surface of lockdowns, wi-fi, and WhatsApp, there are depths and mysteries... Varied and engrossing.' - Frank Startup, The School Librarian, on The Conversation
‘… this is a thoughtful and thought-provoking collection of insightful and personal poems and each one earns its place in a varied whole. The Conversation evokes a stream of ideas and a dialogue which lingers long after the first reading and commands many revisits. It is both a tender tribute to a dear and departed friend and fellow writer and a significant and wide-ranging collection.’ - Tina MacNaughton
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