Poetry Book Society Recommendation
The Months is a book of poems about time – not only the attritions of time, its ageings, conflicts and illnesses, but also, and more importantly, the kind of time the French philosopher Bergson called ‘duration’, a human time that speeds up or slows, expands and contracts, measured by perceptual rather than scientific laws.
At the centre of the collection, the long title-poem interweaves material from two pregnancies spanning two generations: these months open themselves up to insecurities and dreams, culture, myths, everyday realities and moments of fear or delight. The two births that end this compelling narrative take the book in a new direction, to a time and place where it is possible to stand still and watch a saucepan drying on a draining-board or cycle round a mountainous island at age sixty, laugh at oneself, or even begin again.
‘Wicks’s poems have a magnificently physical presence … She presents a world which is grounded in reality…but still distinctly susceptible to metamorphosis…not confined to the narrowness of one lifetime, but attentive to the ebb and flow of all life, to all the things that must come round again.’ – Chloe Stopa-Hunt, The Poetry Review, on The Months
'Wicks can be both a fearless and arrestingly tender kind of writer, unafraid of taking a thought into uncomfortable, raw or unexpected places... confessions and punishments, banishments and betrayals, all are rendered in the mouths of the past or looked at from the aftermath of the present. Seeming to rise darkly in pitch at the end of the collection, they adjust our sense of the easier poems, and further deepen the focus of this mysterious and powerful book.' – Paul Farley, PBS Bulletin, on House of Tongues
'A poet of deceptive power, who can transmute everyday objects and events into poems with an understated numinous edge.' – Kathleen Jamie, PBS Bulletin
‘A fine poet, with an eye for detail and a gift for conveying the earthiness of everyday experience.’ – Jo Shapcott, Independent on Sunday
‘Few poets writing today go into [family, its personal ties and sorrows] in so detailed and tender a way. Or so frighteningly.’ – Alan Brownjohn, Sunday Times
Susan Wicks reads eight poems
Susan Wicks reads eight poems: 'Ha Ha Bonk', 'Buying Fish', 'The Clever Daughter', 'Persephone', 'My Father's Handkerchiefs' and 'Night Toad' from Night Toad: New & Selected Poems (2003), followed by two poems from her 2011 collection House of Tongues, 'Pistachios' and 'Cycling to See the Fish-ladder'. Pamela Robertson-Pearce filmed Susan Wicks at the Arvon Foundation's centre at Totleigh Barton in Devon in November 2009.