Website of poet Elizabeth Rimmer

Gillian Clarke

  • Gillian Clarke: A Recipe for Water

    Life is too short to review books you don’t like, so you can take it as read that this is good poetry.
    It’s lucid and serene, attentive and intelligent. It deals with water as sea, snow glacier and river, and talks incisively about global warming without a lot of finger-pointing and shouting. Look at this quiet but pointed conclusion to Solstice where she makes the connection between a spendthrift extravagance of Christmas lights and global warming.

    and we’ll know, for the pleasures of here and now,
    we are borrowing bling from the glacier, slipping
    Greenland’s shoulder from its wrap of snow

    No preaching, but a lovely image for a chilling fact.

    Climate change is a hot topic, but Gillian Clarke extends her consideration of water into many other dimensions. Water, in her hands, is also language, tradition, geography, relationship, connection, transformation, currency. This is easy to read poetry, but not simple.

    There are poems about other things too, birds, plants, minerals, architecture, and one about rugby, which I never thought I would be able to read with pleasure. I bought this book for the intriguing title, but I’m loving it as much for the poems about Welsh, about fire, about horsetails.

    I was looking for something appropriate to finish this review off, but didn’t really find it until I read Jamie Whittle’s book White River, where he says “when you start studying a river, you begin to see that it is connected to everything else on the planet”.

    This is exactly the feeling I got from Gillian Clarke’s book.

  • a world of poetry

    One of these days I will have to review some of the new poetry that has fallen into my lap lately. I am a sucker for books with water in the title so I have Matthew Hollis’ Groundwater and Gillian Clarke’s A Recipe for Water, which have stunned and excited me.
    Then there was Alan Jamieson’s video poems – beautiful combinations of text and sound and image which I’d love to find a way to share.
    Then there will be the Atlantic Islands Festival on the island of Luing from 4th-11th July
    which has been organised by Norman Bissell at the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics. I don’t know how he has managed to pack so much interesting stuff into one week, but it is truly impressive, and I am looking forward very much to taking part.

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