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To Know Bedrock
by Sharon Black
(pub. 2011)

To Know Bedrock Reviews


"Sharon Black's debut collection is beautifully assured. Beginning and ending with poems which touch on the moon, the poems within explore varied territory but always with strength and grace. As winner of the 2011 Frogmore Prize for the poem 'Fibonacci Ponders the Origin of Life', re-titled here 'Fibonacci Takes a Walk to Clear His Head', she does not disappoint with this full collection. Strength is apparent from the first poem where her husband's eyes / are a folded prayer book and the clock slugging restless seconds… with the strength of Sisyphus, / rucks the silence. Favourites come as sequences. The opening sequence 'Trimesters' explores the poet unborn. In the second of the three poems we have through my lids colours blush / as if embarrassed / to be seen smeared // somewhere so private. In the sequence 'Chinks' she explores a diagnosis of breast cancer through investigation to surgery and recovery. This is absolutely lucid writing. In the third of ten poems in the sequence she describes a consultation where whilst being told where the scars will be she watches a white car in the car park, its jagged trajectory symbolic as it is carving a trail through the hospital car-park."

The Frogmore Papers


Testimonials

"Sharon Black's poems are meditations on memory and family, on the way the present triggers images of the past. But they are also gentle explorations of the skin and bone of bodies, and the oddities of landscape, deft and highly tactile: a series of deceptively quiet lullabies to the inner and outer world. Hidden among the gentle, teasing and tender images – of love, of birth, of dying – there are also suddenly disturbing moments, as in a poem about a terrorist bomber, which make the reader want to go back and search the poems for the little inklings of pain as well as the sensory delights. This is a really absorbing and pleasurable first collection, with a constant enjoyment of the individual power of words."

Bill Greenwell, 'Impossible Objects' (Cinnamon, 2006); 'Ringers' (Cinnamon, 2011)

"Whether she's writing of birth (real or metaphorical), of love or of journeys, Sharon's voice is an original one: tender, tough, imaginative. She doesn't flinch from the harsher aspects of being alive: the unborn child, breast cancer and loss all figure in her work. Here too are passionate, visceral poems that hold together both love and death. Many of her poems are rooted in her native Scotland, with the Hebrides a recurring motif. There's a mysterious Other in some of her work – one perhaps of and in the land, perhaps beyond it. Her work might be that elusive treasure brought to the surface in the 'net of the moon' trawling 'the sea of the night'."

Roselle Angwin, 'Looking for Icarus', 'Writing the Bright Moment'


No Magician

I cannot sketch these walls in colour,
paint reflections into household things,
transform your pale fingers
into exotic dancers
across the stage of the breakfast table.

I cannot cut holes in your silences,
turn them into star-shaped flakes
like paper doily decorations,
line your windows with them,
hang them in the naked trees.

I cannot sew beads into the sky,
embroider a moon from silver threads
to turn your view into
something more than simply winter;
I cannot pull bright silks from my sleeve.

I have only this threadbare jacket,
its pockets filled with words,
all of them white rabbits,
all of them hopping
invisibly
into the
snow.

 

(from To Know Bedrock)

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