Jane Clarke’s lyrically eloquent poems bear witness to the rhythms of birth and death, celebration and mourning, endurance and regrowth. An elegiac sequence, inspired by the loss of her father, moves gracefully through this second collection. Rooted in the everyday and backlit by mystery, here are poems to savour and return to, for the pleasure of finely honed lines that powerfully evoke the depth of our connections to people, place and nature.
Jane Clarke’s first collection, The River, was published by Bloodaxe in 2015 to both critical and public acclaim:
'The virtues of Jane Clarke's writing include a broad sympathy that never usurps the voice of the other, that guides the reader to understanding and respect; a pleasure in ingenious objects and crafts that is deftly transmitted; and a clarity which does not deny mystery but makes room for it.' – Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Dublin Review of Books
'Clarke registers with memorable cadence and verbal simplicity the changing pattern of the seasons as it shapes the daily life of a farm and, at the same time, the very human experience of loss, ambivalence and eternal impermanence.' – Peter Abbs, Resurgence & Ecologist
'…this is poetry of exceptional beauty and accomplishment… a marvellous kind of arrival, a redemptive act where memory has meaning and the heart need never be kept indoors.' – Thomas McCarthy, Trumpet (Poetry Ireland)
'We may live out our individual lives, create our individual stories but we are connected to each other by way of our communal experiences, the rhythms of our lives played out in our shared mortality. The River beautifully invokes this connection. As readers we see that our experiences find an echo in others', that our grief is not new, that we can do the seemingly impossible: live through it.' – Tracey Youngblom, New Hibernia Review
'There is a sort of cleanness in her voice that deftly renders a moment and an image in such a way that the thing described opens up all of its compressed levels of meaning.' James Rogers, New Hibernia Review
Jane Clarke reads ‘Swim’, remembering her friend Shirley McClure
Jane Clarke reads and talks about her poem Swim’ from When the Tree Falls, celebrating her friendship with fellow poet Shirley McClure, who died from cancer in 2016.
Jane Clarke live at Ledbury Poetry Festival
Jane Clarke reads and introduces a selection of her poems at Ledbury Poetry Festival on Friday 8th July 2017, when she shared the stage with fellow Irish poets Rita Ann Higgins and Louis de Paor. The poems she reads are from her Bloodaxe collection The River plus new work. Filmed by Pamela Robertson-Pearce.
Jane Clarke on the River Suck, the inspiration for her poems
Jane Clarke interviewed about the influence of the River Suck in her writing, including beautiful views of the river and her childhood home, and her reading of her poem 'The Suck'.