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Black Country

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Black Country.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Liz Berry(Author)

    Book details


SHORTLISTED FOR THE FORWARD PRIZE BEST FIRST COLLECTION 2014 *PBS Recommendation 2014*

When I became a bird, Lord, nothing could not stop me…

In this collection, Liz Berry takes flight: to Wrens Nest, Gosty Hill, Tipton-on-Cut; to the places of home. The poems move from the magic of childhood—bostin fittle at Nanny’s, summers before school—into deeper, darker territory: sensual love, enchanted weddings, and the promise of new life. In Berry’s hands, the ordinary is transformed: her characters shift shapes, her eye is unusual, her ear attuned to the sounds of the Black Country, with "vowels ferrous as nails, consonants / you could lick the coal from." Ablaze with energy, and full of the rich dialect of the West Midlands, this is an incandescent debut from a poet of dazzling talent and verve.

"Black Country is an extraordinary debut...rooted in place. When you close the book, you can still see the Black Country in your mind's eye, as if all the poems in it were coming together to form a continuous landscape, a single yet varied view. These poems need to be studied slowly yet there is, as one reads on, a sense of gathering speed, a flightiness, a readiness to soar... She writes, in the best sense, on a wing and a prayer. What marks out this writing is its sparing but assured use of Midlands dialect. This is writing of warmth, maturity and intermittent eroticism. Liz Berry knows her own flight-path, that is for sure." -- Kate Kellaway * Observer * "Superb... a sooty, soaring hymn to her native West Midlands, scattered with words of dialect that light up the lines like lamps. Expect to hear a great deal more from her in years to come." * Guardian * "This is as writer I'm thrilled to discover -- someone who takes pride in the Midlands... turning ordinariness into something direct, tender and beautiful." -- Bel Mooney * Daily Mail * "A singularly impressive book from a talented writer, and like all the best poetry, begs to be read aloud" -- Ben Wilkinson * Guardian * "Liz Berry is an extraordinary poet: passionate, precise, moving and deeply real. The voice and heat of the Black Country are here, the old tenderness and the complex strands of identity, the humour and the music." -- A.L. Kennedy Liz Berry received an Eric Gregory Award, an Arvon-Jerwood Mentorship, and she is the author of a pamphlet, The Patron Saint of Schoolgirls. Her work has appeared in Poetry London and Poetry Review, and she has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3. In 2011, her poem ‘Birmingham Roller’ was commended in the National Poetry Competition, and ‘Sow’ won second prize in the Poetry London competition. In 2012, ‘Bird’ received first prize in the Poetry London competition. She works as an infant school teacher and is the assistant poetry editor at Ambit magazine.

4.3 (10820)
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Printable? Yes

Book details

  • PDF | 80 pages
  • Liz Berry(Author)
  • Random House UK (November 1, 2014)
  • English
  • 2
  • Literature & Fiction

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Review Text

  • By davidjordan84 on December 12, 2014

    A few of the poems in this collection are written in a north country dialect with which the author must have been familiar growing up. There are even some terms defined in the margins. I felt like I was an international traveler receiving an education while simultaneously being awed by the magical lyricism of the verse. One of my favorite collections this year.

  • By Reggie Deighton on April 23, 2015

    Excellent but some Black Country dialect had been omitted] as few outside the area will understand. But the girl tries but could do more so perhaps the editors want books that appeal to a big profitable book market.

  • By Edward Ferrari on March 16, 2015

    Next page though, next 12 lines though shut me right up. “Singing, they came: / throstles, jenny wrens, / jack squalors swinging their anchors through the clouds.” On “throstles, jenny wrens” I was sold. Its nostalgic hurt for me, accentuated by the controlled release of the line into the colloquial out of the formal, stilted feel of the preceding.Read the rest of the review: http://www.r-o-y.org/2015/03/poetry-sampler-2.html

  • By Ms Graham on October 19, 2014

    So excited to get this book of poems. Ms. Berry has just won a major poetry prize in the UK, and this collection richly deserves all that praise, and more. I know I'll be coming back to it over and over again.


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