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The Cold Store
by Elisabeth Sennitt Clough
£10 (pub. 2021)

In this extraordinary collection, we are introduced to the Cold Store, an elusive figure on the landscape of the Fens, a symbol of childhood, language, home, cathedral, as well as more specifically, a middle aged narcissist, a femme fatale, a local murderer’s death mask... We shiver when it looms: what is the Cold Store? Is it a real place or does it exist only in our minds? These poems ring with cold, glancing sideways to consider female reindeer herders in Siberia, a captive Inuit fisherwoman in a children’s picture book, the bitter taunts of a fellow (male) jogger, the ghostly afterlives of dead Facebook users. A haunting and mesmerising collection.

Praise for The Cold Store:

"Elisabeth Sennitt Clough’s fourth book of poetry proves her unique and beguiling voice only gets stronger. These dark and unsettling poems, immersed in the Fens, ask us to question how vulnerable we are to change, as themes of identity, landscape and ecology are explored. In writing that is deeply experimental and often punctuated with flashes of clever humour, you will find yourself stepping into spaces you thought you knew and understood, only to see them morph, astonishingly, before your very eyes."  

Rebecca Goss

"Taking us between the open Fens landscape and the most intimate corners of a person's life, something gets caught on us in the transition, something crawling, which exists in these poems despite the sub-zero temperatures they are kept in. Haunting, deft, with a refusal to look away, there is a shifting of shape which happens in this collection, both in form and in the figure standing over the reader's shoulder, which stalks us through the pages and refuses to let us out the same as we started."

Toby Campion

"These poems prickle with imagery and voice, buzzing like overhead powerlines, alive with fiercely-observed detail. In their demarcation of a place where 'Each square of land carries me into the next  / and a pink horizon emerges from dark earth',  Sennitt-Clough skilfully explores past, present and inheritance, the experiences of girlhood and womanhood, of danger and boundaries, to create this sleek, disquieting and unforgettable collection of poetry."

Jane Commane


In the Library, Six Men Lean Out of a Book

They’ve got that there’s something you ought to know stance
and because the voices of older women in my family are always alert
to the actions of history – keep your eyes and ears open – I watch them

point their rifles at a small woman, bound around her middle with rope.
An Eskimo – the font is small, the final word almost erased.
The men laugh as one of them jabs the Inuit’s back.

My daughters are across the room and don’t hear the men,
don’t see the woman, or smell the fish drying.
The men stand back for the camera, their eyes full of snow.

I turn to the children, but Rebekah and Sarah and Amy
are too busy with rubber stamps and glue sticks
to be distracted by old-fashioned men in books.

I return to the page, but the men, the rifles and the rack
of fish are all gone, just the woman and traces of a word:
captured beneath a landscape of white.



(from The Cold Store)



The Cold Store

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