Fleur Adcock began writing the poems in this book when she was 82. The two chief settings are New Zealand, with its multi-coloured seas, and Britain, seen in various decades. There are foreign travels, flirtations, family memories, deaths and conversations with the dead. Katherine Mansfield, incognito, dodges an academic conference; there’s a lesson in water divining as well as a rather unusual Christmas party. We meet several varieties of small mammal, numerous birds, doomed or otherwise, and some sheep. The book ends with a sequence in memory of her friend, the poet Roy Fisher.
‘Informality and immediacy are vivid ways to remake a world; and Adcock’s style has not dated in the half-century since her debut.’ – Fiona Sampson, Guardian
‘Fleur Adcock’s poetry is lauded for its composure and ease of delivery. Yet that sense of control…belies a more complicated history.’ – Julian Stannard, Times Literary Supplement
‘Fleur Adcock is as clear-eyed as always in a collection that ranges widely over lost worlds, family histories …but always maintains the art of seemingly artless observation.’ – Adam Newey, Guardian
‘Adcock’s reputation has been founded on her spare, conversational poems, in which the style is deceptively simple, apparently translucent…those who see in such poems only flatness are missing the power of a voice which teases both reader and subject.’ – Jo Shapcott, Times Literary Supplement
Fleur Adcock reads nine poems
Fleur Adcock reads nine poems from Poems 1960-2000 (Bloodaxe Books, 2000): ‘The Video’, ‘For a Five-Year-Old’, ‘The Pangolin’, ‘An Illustration to Dante’, ‘Things’, Weathering’, ‘For Heidi with Blue Hair’, ‘Where They Lived’ and Counting’.. Pamela Robertson-Pearce filmed Fleur Adcock at her home in London on 29 June 2007. This film is from the DVD-anthology In Person: 30 Poets, filmed by Pamela Robertson-Pearce & edited by Neil Astley (Bloodaxe Books, 2008).