Pascale Petit's Tiger Girl reviews, interviews & poem features

Pascale Petit's Tiger Girl reviews, interviews & poem features


'Tiger Girl is published by Bloodaxe. It pushes deep into the wilder places of the forest and the human heart. It shimmers with the colours of bee-eaters and flycatchers and rages at the darker regions of environmental expoloitation and cruelty... Pascale Petit, shortlisted for the alarming, mythic, beautiful Tiger Girl.' -  Alexandra Harris, Chair of Judges, Forward Prize for Best Collection 2020


Pascale Petit's eighth collection Tiger Girl, published by Bloodaxe on 3 September 2020, was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection 2020 and the English language poetry category of Wales Book of the Year 2021. She won the 2020 Keats-Shelley Poetry Prize for a poem from Tiger Girl.  Her seventh collection Mama Amazonica won the RSL Ondaatje Prize 2018, the first poetry title to win that award, and the inaugural Laurel Prize 2020.


Bookanista featured three poems from the collection to mark publication day on 3 September 2020.  Read here.  The poems are ‘Green Bee-eater’, ‘Prize Photograph’ and ‘#ExctinctionRebellion’.



Traveller, Autumn 2023 issue

Pascale Petit’s poem ‘Trees of Song’ from her eighth collection Tiger Girl was featured as a stunning double page spread in the Autumn 2023 issue of Traveller, the UK’s longest-running travel magazine.  The poem was illustrated by Sarah Maycock as featured in the anthology The Book of Tree Poems, edited by Ana Sampson (Laurence King, 2023). The anthology was recommended in Mark Reynolds’ bookshelf feature, but the poem itself was credited to 2020 Bloodaxe collection Tiger Girl.  Pascale Petit was also mentioned and pictured at the front of the issue.

In her editorial paying tribute to trees, Amy Sohanpaul writes:

‘There is also, in our pages, a wonderful ode by poet Pascale Petit – ‘Trees of Song’. Illustrated by Sarah Maycock, it’s one of the most beautiful spreads we’ve ever run. It reflects to an extent, a line from the wise Kahlil Gibran: Trees are poems the earth writes against the sky.’ - Amy Sohanpaul, Traveller

In print. Available on the Wessex Travel website as a PDF here. Poem feature pages 76-77.


The Verb at Hay, BBC Radio 3, Friday 3 June 2022, 10pm

Pascale Petit read her new poem 'Swallows' on BBC Radio 3’s The Verb on 3 June.  This was commissioned as part of their 'Something Old, Something New' series to mark the BBC's centenary. The rest of the episode was recorded in front of an audience at the Hay Festival on 27 May 2022.  

‘Ian McMillan is always at home in front of a crowd, and in this programme, recorded at the Hay Festival, he is joined by some of our most exciting writers, performers and poets to explore the idea of homeliness - literal or metaphorical and to ask if writing can be a kind of home. His guests are: the poet Lemn Sissay whose latest book, for children, is a celebration of curiosity and belonging - by Monica Ali who casts her eye across family matters in her new novel 'Love Marriage' - by Daniel Morden (a consummate storyteller and performer, acquainted with all the myths of belonging), and Tishani Doshi whose poetry and prose is alert to the possibilities of a home - in the poem or in the body. 

Also in the programme - a brand new poetry commission by Pascale Petit, winner of the inaugural Laurel Prize for nature poetry - written especially for the BBC's centenary, part of our 'Something Old, Something New' series, and you can also hear a poem from the archive by Gwyneth Lewis - former National Poet of Wales.’

Gwyneth’s poem is played at 34:46.  Pascale reads her poem from 37:15.

Listen via BBC Sounds:


Two poems by Pascale Petit were included in the exhibition It's Only The End of The World held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, 16-20 May 2022, during the first International UN Network on Migration Forum. The exhibition pairs each imagined future with a poem from artists, whose works celebrate the beauty of our natural world, mourn its destruction and call out for urgent action. Listen to the poems while watching the images come alive. You can also visit a virtual exhibition of the still pictures here:

Pascale’s poems 'Green Bee-eater' from Tiger Girl and 'Rainforest in the Sleep Room' from Mama Amazonica were featured in videos for the virtual exhibition, with the poems read by Pascale herself.

Pascale Petit reads her poem 'Green Bee-eater' from her eighth collection Tiger Girl for the United Nation's exhibition It's Only The End of The World held at the UN in New York in May 2022.



Resurgence & Ecologist, May/June 2022 issue

Pascale Petit was interviewed for the May/June issue of Resurgence & Ecologist magazine ahead of her reading for the Acorn Poetry Festival in June 2022.

Pascale spoke about her background, and about her approach to writing nature poetry.  She discussed her collections Tiger Girl and Mama Amazonica, winner of the inaugural Laurel Prize for ecopoetry.

Read in full online via Resurgence's website here.


BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2021 & 2020

Tiger Girl was chosen as a favourite read of the year in the Hindustan Times of 17 December 2021.

'The latest poetry collection by UK-based Pascale Petit is Tiger Girl. Here is glowing ecopoetry communing with the creative force of the natural world, its human-wreaked wounds. Yet hers is not only a lament but also a salve that opens us up to Nature... she twines ecological themes with her family’s Indian heritage and harmful relationships.' - Suhit Kelkar, Hindustan Times (Books of the Year 2021)

Read here.


Tiger Girl by Pascale Petit is preoccupied by place, as was Petit’s previous Laurel Prize winning collection Mama Amazonica. The latter was set in the thick heat of the Amazon Rainforest, exploring nature, wildness, and extinction. Tiger Girl is instead set in central India, continuing to explore similar themes. The poems are strewn with jewels, rich fabrics, endangered animals, and the humans who treat them cruelly… Petit shows us how the places of our past live inside of us; how your country of origin snakes into the psyche and defines you, even when you are thousands of miles away from it. She interweaves the domestic with depictions of forests, poachers, and wild animals. Her luminous language brings India to life…’ – Jasmine Ward, Poetry School (Poetry Books of the Year 2020)


'Like all her previous collections, Pascale Petit’s Tiger Girl (Bloodaxe, 2020), whose ‘hymns […] burn/at the centre of the earth,’ is fiery, intense. Petit explores her mixed heritage through the lexicons of flora and fauna, through lenses that lend immediacy and intimacy to the devastating effects of environmental exploitation and destruction.' - Mihaela Moscaliuc, Plume Magazine (Favorite Books from 2020)



Free Thinking: Twilight, BBC Radio 3, Tuesday 26 October 2021, 10pm

Pascale Petit was a guest on Radio 3’s Free Thinking on 26 October. She and fellow guests, composer Sally Beamish, photographer Jasper Goodall and cultural historian Alexandra Harris, were discussing twilight with presenter Eleanor Rosamund Barraclough ahead of the clocks going back in the UK on 31 October.

Pascale read and introduces her poem ‘Indian Roller’ from her 8th collection Tiger Girl, and spoke about her experiences of the dangers and beauty of twilight in the Indian tiger forests and the Amazon rainforest. She spoke in some detail about her 7th collection Mama Amazonica, which is set in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest.

The programme starts at 1:36. Pascale talks about dawn in the Amazon rainforest in the introduction.  She features at 15:22 to talk about other poets who write about twilight, and about her own experiences of twilight in the rainforest; at 27:24 she spoke about the tiger forests in India; her main interview & poem feature from 31:01.

Listen here.

The Verb: Green Memoir, BBC Radio 3, Friday 13 November 2020, 10pm - a BBC Radio 4 Pick of the Week

Pascale Petit was a guest on Radio 3’s The Verb on 13 November. She and fellow guests were discussing what happens when we start to see the natural world as an integral part of our own histories, and spoke about the family history which informs her recent poetry collections.

Pascale read ‘Her Tigress Eyes’ and ‘Green Bee-eater’ from her eighth collection Tiger Girl and ‘Kapok’ from her seventh collection Mama Amazonica.

‘Pascale Petit won The Laurel Prize earlier this year (a new prize for poetry on environmental themes), for her remarkable poems fusing myth, the natural world (the teeming life of the rainforest) and her family relationships. Her new collection 'Tiger Girl' has at its heart, an encounter between a tiger and a baby - a baby who grew up to be Pascale's grandmother. Pascale also explains why the kapok tree is so special to her.’

Pascale contributed and read poems at 06:54, 11:00, 28:24 & 36:06.
Listen here.

In his introduction, Ian mentioned the edition of The Verb of 18 September in which Poet Laureate Simon Armitage and fellow judge Moniza Alvi discussed the shortlist for the inaugural Laurel Prize, which was won by Pascale Petit’s Mama Amazonica.


The Verb: Nature Poetry, BBC Radio 3, Friday 18 September 2020, 10pm

Mama Amazonica was discussed from 14:42.

Listen here.


Pascale Petit was interviewed in depth for the first edition of the Planet Poetry podcast with Peter Kenny and Robin Houghton on 22 October 2020. Pascale spoke about and read poems from her 7th collection Mama Amazonica, which has since won the inaugural Laurel Prize, and from her 8th collection Tiger Girl, shortlisted for the Forward Prize. Pascale read ‘Tiger Gran’ and ‘Flash Forests’ from Tiger Girl, and ‘My Mother’s Wedding Dress’ and ‘Corpse Flower’ from Mama Amazonica

Listen here.  Pascale Petit is interviewed from 4:04.


An in-depth interview with Pascale Petit was featured on Publishers Weekly Poetry Tumblr on 13 October. She was speaking to Maya C. Popa about her 8th collection Tiger Girl , which will be distributed in the US by Consortium Book Sales from November 2020.  Her 7th collection Mama Amazonica has just won the inaugural Laurel Prize for eco poetry.

'Both books juxtapose a family in crisis with the natural world in crisis, and link abuse of women and children with abuse of animals and forests.' - Pascale Petit

Read the interview hereTiger Girl is reviewed in Publishers Weekly here.


An interview with Pascale Petit, focusing on Tiger Girl in particular, went online at Versopolis on 27 July 2020. 

'No one in these islands writes poems like Pascale Petit. Part of this is formal: Petit trained as a sculptor at the Royal College of Art in her youth, and didn’t publish her first full poetry collection until 1998, in her mid-forties. Her poems bear out this history in their tactility, their keen awareness of space, their density of colour and hyperreal imagery. My only experiential comparison is walking into a room in a gallery, in which every surface has been transformed: often unsettling, often unsettlingly familiar, a lucid, vivid dream.' - Dave Coates, Versopolis

Read here.


Pascale Petit was interviewed for the online edition of New Welsh Review, 3 May 2021.

Yvonne Reddick talks to the poet Pascale Petit about her Forward Prize Best Collection nominated Tiger Girl, the Gond artist Jangarh Singh Shyam, tensions between locals, tourists and tigers, and the evolution of her wild beast, birdlife and megafauna poems.

Available to subscribers hereTiger Girl is reviewed online in New Welsh Review here (also by subscription) - see below.



Pascale Petit's Tiger Girl was one of three Bloodaxe titles featured in The Telegraph India's feature of 27 July 2021 on nine powerful poetry books exploring current issues. Read here.

'Petit emerges as a strong voice of and for the natural world in this dazzling collection of eco-poems that unfolds like a poetic canopy of lush, throbbing images of the forests and fauna in Central India, dappled by the memories of her grandmother, the tiger girl. She explores her multiracial roots and childhood complexities as she reimagines and reconstructs matrilineal love and loss through the face and history of her ‘tiger-gran’, tracing it in the heart of the beasts and the wild, that is fraught with the ravages of environmental cruelty.' - The Telegraph India


'Tiger Girl shimmers with beauty and rage: for every exquisite description of a bird or tiger, there's an incident of cruelty and horror unfolded on the page by a poet who watches and refuses to flinch... If Petit is unflinching in her depictions of the cruelties of life, it is because she recognises that they are part of what is true.  Poets may not change the world, but they can change our understanding of it. Bearing witness, celebrating beauty, honouring what is true: this is the work of poetry.' - Vicky MacKenzie, New Welsh Review


Tiger Girl was reviewed by Aingeal Clare in The Guardian's Best Recent Poetry Round-up of 12 September 2020. Read the full review here.

'Family history is at the heart of Pascale Petit’s Tiger Girl, the story of her grandmother, born in Rajasthan to her father’s maid but brought up as his wife’s child....Petit is a passionate laureate of the natural world, but alive to the cruelty of human depredation...' - Aingeal Clare, The Guardian


An excellent review of Tiger Girl has gone online at DURA as part of a set of reviews of the books shortlisted for this year’s Forward Prize.  Read the full review here.

‘… Petit succeeds in bringing to us a collection at once personal and universal, terrifying and transcendent, gory and gorgeous. She opens our eyes to beauty and death, fires and stars, transfixes us, and thereby transforms us. Tiger Girl is mandatory reading.’ - Skendha Singh, DURA (Dundee University Review of the Arts)


Tiger Girl was reviewed in Publishers Weekly ahead of US distribution from 3 November 2020.  Read here.  This follows an online interview with Pascale Petit in PW here.

‘The vibrant poems on animals and nature for which Petit (Mama Amazonica) is rightfully known are fully realized in this dazzling work. Petit considers her family history, her grandmother’s Indian heritage, and the folklore that fills the speaker’s mind with images of animals, night markets, and shouting vendors. Petit’s gift for luminous juxtaposition shines...This mesmerizing collection is full of delights.’ – Publishers Weekly

A full-page review of Pascale Petit’s Tiger Girl was featured in the Autumn 2020 issue of Oxford Review of Books. Read the full review here.

‘Petit’s search for human heritage in the Indian jungles could not come at a better moment… Tiger Girl’s poems, like ‘hymns that burn/at the centre of the earth’, are incantations and lamentations, conjuring lost animal spirits and a world in flames, but also constitute recovery, providing tenderness and beauty in the face of trauma.’ – Natalie Perman, Oxford Review of Books


Tiger Girl was reviewed in great depth in the international online eco and world poetry magazine amberflora. Read the full review here.

‘Petit teaches readers a new vocabulary, one that is truthful in its brutality, a language which: ‘hisses and bites/ has a split lizard tongue’.’ – Florinda, amberflora magazine


Front Row, BBC Radio 4, Monday 24 August 2020, 7.15pm

Pascale Petit’s Forward Prize-shortlisted eighth collection Tiger Girl was reviewed by Daljit Nagra on Front Row on 24 August ahead of publication on 3 September.

‘I think this might be her best book so far because of this complexity of a family in crisis against a planet in crisis – she’s very much a poet of the environment… She has a powerful, imagistic authority over the landscape. It’s a very moving, powerful book I would say.’ – Daljit Nagra, speaking on Radio 4’s Front Row

‘The poet Daljit Nagra, who curates the poetry programming on Radio 4 Extra, introduces three recently-published poetry books. Rachel Long’s debut collection, My Darling from the Lions; Pascale Petit’s mid-career book Tiger Girl, inspired by her grandmother’s life in India; and the Selected Poems 1965 – 2018 of Jeremy Hooker, who in his eightieth year is still writing as beautifully and prolifically as ever.’

Daljit begins his poetry round-up at 21.48. He reviews Tiger Girl from 26.39.
Listen to his review here.



Two poems from Tiger Girl are featured on Extinction Rebellion's Writers' Rebel website are here

Pascale Petit's poem 'The Anthropocene' from Tiger Girl is featured in the New Statesman of 3 June here.


Some poems from Tiger Girl are featured on Pascale's blog here, along with photographs taken in India.


Pascale Petit's poem 'Indian Paradise Flycatcher' from Tiger Girl won the Keats-Shelley Prize. More details on our website here.

[25 August 2020]

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