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Oysterlight
by Cheryl Pearson
(pub. 2017)


Rarely has a poetry collection brimmed with such confidence and such lightness of touch. There’s something otherworldly about Cheryl Pearson’s poetry. Whether she’s writing in the voice of Joan of Arc waiting to be burned at the stake, an angel after the Fall, Bluebeard’s wife or Medusa taking her revenge, each character is imbued with rich humanity and grace. Among poems about dam swimming, water dowsing and Laika – the first dog to go into space – sit the tenderest love poems featuring beach combing, a huge yellow-striped spider, and Brooklyn light. These poems shine with sensitivity – towards human nature and our metaphysical questioning, as well as the natural world. They are deeply reflective in both senses of the word.



Praise for Oysterlight:


“In her poem ‘Girl as Star’, Cheryl Pearson writes about 'a girl held together/by her own gravity' and it seems to me that this book is held together by its own beautiful and finely-crafted gravity. The poems are built with care and love and with a deep conviction that language not only helps us to survive, it helps us to dance.

Ian McMillan

Oysterlight is a shining debut, filled with nature, love, mythology. Cheryl Pearson gives a voice to angels, Daphne, Orpheus, Medusa, Penelope and Persephone in beautifully crafted poems of startling clarity. I loved it.”

Carole Bromley


"From interviews with angels to glimpses of selkies, Oysterlight is a magical collection which makes the familiar strange. Cheryl Pearson guides us through landscapes where 'ghosts are pressed in the print of our boots'. Enchanting, enchanted."

Helen Mort



Joan Of Arc Waits For The Flames

They burned her horse first, made her watch
as they hustled his gleaming furniture into flame.
His tail, his mane, gone in a shock of sparks.
She hadn’t known a horse could scream like that.
Hadn’t known that pain came in layers, like an onion –
as one was stripped away, another, larger, moulded on the last,
gleamed underneath, brought burning water from her eyes.
When the fire reached his centre, she felt her own heart catch.
How soft then seemed the plates of her armour. How thin her skin,
through which grief flooded like sunlight through glass.
The thought of her own death, so close she could taste it –
fat-spit, lung-burn, sooted rib. Then out of her mind: the rope
of her Voice. Think cold as the flames peel away from your bones.
As her wrists were tied. As the torch-flame leaped. As her hems
and ankles lightened. Think snowmelt. Think
stalactite. Think ice-storms. Think stone.

 

(from Oysterlight)

 



 

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