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The Zoo Father

The Zoo Father
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Shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize, this is the second collection from a poet of powerful emotions and vivid imagery. The Zoo Father underlines the author's reputation as a questing poet capable of outstanding imagistic flourishes and surprising associations. This extraordinary and powerful volume is comprised of two sections, the first about with the poet's relationship with her father, the second with her mother. Section One is heavily imbued with imagery of the poet's travels in South America and her researches in the cultures and ecology of the Venezuelan rain forest. Pain, anger, bewilderment are refracted through a rich, often sensual imagery of fauna, hallucinatory drugs and tribal beliefs. This gives the poems their originality, and prevents subject matter of childhood abandonment and abuse becoming too harrowing. The imagery adapted from shamanistic beliefs is especially memorable. Section Two is set in southern France, in an almost equally exotic location of vineyards and 'dinosaur plateaux'. It concerns the poet's family holidays in "the vineyard" and her rediscovery and subsequent repossession of that place. Once again, the poems delineate a primary relationship (with the poet's mother), with the lushness of the imagery putting into surprising context the development of that relationship.
Seren; February 2013
64 pages; ISBN 9781781720479
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