In this intimate, confiding poetry collection, McGuinness shows how identity is layered, permeable, always in motion – how we are always actor and audience to ourselves
In Blood Feather, a book of doubling and displacement, we see time in a new way: the past, personal and collective, lingering as an ever-present ghost – while lost beyond recall.
The first section, ‘Squeeze the Day’ – a series of deeply moving poems about the author’s mother, displaced between languages – investigates her illness and death; how being bilingual is like having a double, a second self; how each self haunts the other. ‘The Noises Things Make When They Leave’ elegises today’s post-industrial landscapes, their people and professions: sidelined by literature, bypassed by globalisation. The final sequence, ‘After the Flood’, links the book’s themes, seeking a way of seeing things for the first time and the last time simultaneously. Exploring the gaps between languages and between our selves in language, Patrick McGuinness dreams of a new tense in which the world’s losses are redeemed:
It’s the anniversary of my mother’s death,
and it’s my mother’s birthday –
the day she short-circuited the tenses,
made the current flow both ways.
A clear-sighted, intimate new poetry collection from the prizewinning author of Other People’s Countries and Throw me to the Wolves.