Best Sellers:

The Hopeful Hat | Bloodaxe Books

Carole Satyamurti

The Hopeful Hat

Carole Satyamurti

Publication Date : 23 Feb 2023

ISBN: 9781780376530

Pages: 65
Size :216 x 138mm
Rights: World

Poetry Book Society Recommendation


Let this be my last word on the subject.
The wasps sting and stab
but, ignoring them, I speak.

      'Necklace of Wasps'

The Hopeful Hat is Carole Satyamurti's last collection. She was preparing these poems for publication at the time of her death, and left the manuscript in an advanced state of readiness. The sequencing of the poems, and the sections they are grouped in, had already been decided by her.

These late poems are informed by Satyamurti's keen eye for social injustice and, equally, by the breadth of her compassion. Poignantly, they are also her nuanced poetic response to having her voice box removed following a diagnosis of laryngeal cancer. The poems' formal accomplishment is carried lightly; characteristically, it is this light touch that enables Satyamurti to move so deeply. Clear-eyed in the face of her own mortality, she produced a series of courageous poems that are, as Carol Ann Duffy said of her work, 'laced with the hard stuff'. They are also graced with Satyamurti's unique and subtle wit.

The preface by the poet's daughter, Emma Satyamurti, places this collection in the larger context of four decades of published work, and provides an illuminating insight into the poems gathered together here.

Satyamurti's 'last word on the subject' is as eloquent as it is succinct:

            A broken bowl becoming
a charged fragment in your hand

invites you to consider now, and now,
the quiddity of all that is.

      'How to Wash Dishes on the Eightfold Path'


'The calm, wit and grace with which she writes makes reading her poems moving but never depressing.' - Kate Kellaway, The Observer (poetry book of the month), on The Hopeful Hat

'…The Hopeful Hat is a masterclass in premonition and departure... She’ll be remembered for big-hearted, socially responsible poems that are intent on change but reconciled to limitation. This is a moving book that feeds our yearning for hope, while also questioning the meaning of hopefulness.' - Kit Fan, The Guardian (Best recent poetry round-up)

‘Small Change is a brave piece of writing, an exposure of inadequacies of personal and civic responsibility which few of us will fail to shudder at. Not least because of its cold honesty, it’s a silver coin dropped into the hopeful hat of any reader aspiring to the examined life. There are many more such gifts in this posthumous collection, beautifully edited and introduced by the poet’s daughter Emma Satyamurti.’ – Carol Rumens, Poem of the Week, The Guardian, on 'Small Change' from The Hopeful Hat

‘… Satyamurti’s lyric meditations marry emotional clarity with imagery that lingers in the mind’s eye.’ – Ellora Sutton, Mslexia, on The Hopeful Hat

‘These poems are quiet, insistent, intimate. They’re plain speaking. Her canvas ranges from the personal to the global... The book grows ever stiller and more beautiful, for this reader, as it progresses. There’s something about choosing the right words, ones that will bear fruit and witness.’ - Charlotte Gann, The Friday Poem, on The Hopeful Hat

‘This posthumous collection is a work of impressive artistry and depth… what I find impressive isn’t just the precision and economy with which these poems are written but the stance they take, the direction of their vision. Instead of asking us to look at her own situation, Satyamurti looks through it at other people’s experiences and broader human meanings… Altogether, this is a book I’d warmly recommend and expect to enjoy over many years.’ – Edmund Prestwich, The High Window,

‘… though shaded by mortality, it’s not a sad book, rather the reverse, offering as it does its own very personal witness to the courage of the human spirit—a spirit encapsulated by the busker’s ‘hopeful hat’ in the title poem.’ – Stuart Henson, London Grip


Carole Satyamurti reads nine poems

Carole Satyamurti reads six poems from her sequence about breast cancer, 'Changing the Subject', together with another poem, 'Sathyaji', all these from Stitching the Dark: New & Selected Poems (2005), followed by two poems from her collection Countdown (2011), 'Life on Mir' and 'Countdown to Midnight'. Neil Astley filmed Carole Satyamurti at her home in London in March 2010.


Ireland & EU: Click here to order from Books Upstairs in Dublin

USA: Click here to order from Indiebound or


BOOKS BY Carole Satyamurti


Carole Satyamurti


Publication Date : 23 Jun 2011

Read More
Stitching the Dark

Carole Satyamurti

Stitching the Dark

New & Selected Poems

Publication Date : 28 Apr 2005

Read More

Related News & Publicity

News & Publicity

Carole Satyamurti's The Hopeful Hat reviewed in The Guardian & Observer

Carole Satyamurti's The Hopeful Hat reviewed in The Guardian & Observer

Carole Satyamurti's final collection The Hopeful Hat reviewed in The Observer, The Guardian, Mslexia & The Friday Poem. Guardian Poem of the Week feature.

Read More  |  View All






View Larger Text