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Clare Shaw

Towards a General Theory of Love

Clare Shaw

Publication Date : 26 May 2022

ISBN: 9781780376042

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

Clare Shaw’s fourth collection Towards a General Theory of Love shows that poetry can say as much as about who we are – and especially how we feel – as psychology. They also feed each other.

Harry Harlow’s famous experiments on baby monkeys changed the course of psychology. They proved that we need care, contact and love – and they inflicted profound and lasting suffering on their subjects. Clare Shaw’s poems in Towards a General Theory of Love are driven by the same furious need to understand the experience of love and its absence. Harlow’s findings, attachment theory, mythology and art are set alongside stories of attraction, grief and desire. The book is inhabited by the character of Monkey, who shows by example how early attachments and trauma may shape us, but how ultimately the individual – like the reader – will come to realise her, his or their own general theory and practice of love.

‘As the title suggests, this is a book of love poems, but more an exploration of aspects of love; familial, romantic and how Clare Shaw feels about herself… An early piece is entitled “This is a very small poem”, but there are no small poems in this amazingly real and open study of love.’ – Simon Williams, Expert Reviews (Best poetry books you can buy in 2022) on Towards a General Theory of Love

'If the title of Clare Shaw’s fine collection is a pastiche of a subject that resists theorizing, then the hugely comprehensive nature of her immersion overturns any suggestion of parody. For here is love examined from every conceivable angle, incorporating every degree of pain and suffering, and viewed from the variegated perspective of alter-egos both animate and inanimate. The effort of will is exacting but not destabilizing: serving the greater purpose of epiphany, the poems are strengthened by their openness, their brave acknowledgment of an unsettling past.' - Steve Whitaker, The Yorkshire Times, on Towards a General Theory of Love

‘There’s a freshness in her expression, like waking anew to the language... touches of humour, and consolations of the natural world… help to punctuate the emotional intensity.’ – Charlotte Gann, The Friday Poem, on Towards a General Theory of Love

'Clare Shaw's fourth collection is an exploration of how grief, as the 'negative image of love', colours and changes every aspect of the world... Shaw's particular genius for simile, titles and list-poems are also evident here. The poet's distinctive northern voice resonates through assured rhythm, exquisite rhyme when needed, and the music of lament especially in elegies and memories about their mother.' - Pauline Rowe, Orbis, on Towards a General Theory of Love

'Towards a General Theory of Love is the fourth collection by Clare Shaw, a much-cherished poet who won a Northern Writers’ Award in 2018. Her searching and magnetic poems hold a clarity of thought as they explore multiple emotional states and perspectives.' - Will Mackie, New Writing North (New & recent poetry from the North, Summer 2022)

'An authentic, strong and searingly honest voice comes through this fourth collection of poems from Clare Shaw, published by Bloodaxe Books.  In Towards a General Theory of Love, Shaw explores love from a range of different perspectives, imbued with melancholy, pain, suffering, and hope.' - Jane Broadis, The School Librarian

‘The collection reaches well beyond the bounds of its 58 component parts, feeling by turns like a play, therapy, friend. Indefinable, then, but no matter – it is a triumph.’ - Dawn Gorman, Writing in Education, on Towards a General Theory of Love

‘As with their previous collections with Bloodaxe, Straight ahead (2006), Head on (2012) and Flood (2018), their fourth collection is unwaveringly direct and often painfully raw and honest; but more than this, it is also beautifully written, with such a palpable sense of community, interconnectedness, humanity and shared experience, that one comes away from reading it feeling emotionally richer and in no way diminished.’ - Charlotte Burton, Journal of Child Psychotherapy, on Towards a General Theory of Love

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

USA: Click here to order from Indiebound or Bookshop.org

  

BOOKS BY Clare Shaw

Flood

Clare Shaw

Flood

Publication Date : 21 Jun 2018

Read More   amazon.co.uk
Head On

Clare Shaw

Head On

Publication Date : 22 Nov 2012

Read More   amazon.co.uk
Straight Ahead

Clare Shaw

Straight Ahead

Publication Date : 28 Sep 2006

Read More   amazon.co.uk

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Clare Shaw piece on Vaughan Williams for bbc Radio 3's The Essay - a Radio 4 Pick of the Week; plus reviews of Towards a General Theory of Love, a poetry book of 2022 ...

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