'These are subtle, tender poems of love, loss and growing up on a farm in rural Ireland. Jane Clarke writes with a fine eye for remembered detail in language marked by good farm words like “slane and sickle”, “clout and stud nails”. The river Suck, and the river of life, run through the book and the farmland where the poet was brought up. Every poem leaves something in the mind: the beauty and cruelty of farming, the life of land and animals, of parents remembered in their strength, and in their ageing. A quiet, powerful collection.’ – Gillian Clarke
'These poems burn with the ferocity of their intent in supple and profound music. Many of them are rooted in family life and the seasonal farm work Jane Clarke depicts with such respect and compassion. Others treat of adult relationships in the face of a beautiful, if brutal world. The river music is sometimes the real river music of the Suck and other rivers with their riparian birds and hunger for the sea. Her philosophical bent finds the river in us, in the emotional fluxes, whether in the rapids or the calm shallows. This is not pastoral poetry though there’s plenty of pasture in it, and hens and hay and alders and willows and heifers.
'There’s a visionary at work here, a shaper and shifter, moving us in language that is plain, exact, and true. She invokes Heraclitus’ famous river that can’t be stepped in twice; she could as justly invoke Hopkins’ Heraclitean fire. And the comfort of the Resurrection – for nature to Clarke is a site of renewal and integration. There is both heartbreak and heart’s ease in this auspicious debut from an accomplished craftswoman.’ – Paula Meehan
‘Clear, direct, lovely: Jane Clarke’s voice slips into the Irish tradition with such ease, it is as though she had always been at the heart of it.’ – Anne Enright
'Jane’s poems have a two-fold quality of tenderness – not simply their affectionate respect for people and for ways of life, but also the courage to go close to the raw places, facing the grief and unease which comes from loving what can be or already has been lost.' – Philip Gross
‘The River is a collection of poems, not prose masquerading as poetry. Jane Clarke’s lines are honed, measured, finely and finally settled on. She has many of the qualities of her mentor and name-sake Gillian: strength and originality of metaphor, an ear for the music of language and an ability to allow the poem space to accommodate the reader. I recommend The River to readers and writers of poetry.’ - Tony Curtis, Poetry Wales
‘Symbols of transience and change, images of rivers weave through this collection exploring themes of loss, creativity and the natural world. This is a strikingly assured debut that blends touching domestic detail with searing insights. A meditative, thought-provoking collection of verse that stays with the reader, offering solace and inspiration long after the last page is turned.’ – Juanita Coulson, The Lady (Christmas Books 2015)
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