Three poems

Hannah Sullivan, 1979-

Book - 2020

"A British poet's debut collection, winner of the 2018 T.S. Eliot Prize for poetry"--

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New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2020.
Main Author
Hannah Sullivan, 1979- (author)
First American edition
Item Description
Originally published in 2018 by Faber & Faber Ltd, Great Britain.
Physical Description
71 pages ; 22 cm
Costa Poetry Award, Shortlist
  • You, very young in New York
  • Repeat until time
  • The sandpit after rain.
Review by Booklist Review

Though this may be her debut poetry collection, Sullivan has received international acclaim for her scholarly treatment of literary modernism (The Work of Revision, 2013). The influence of writers like T. S. Eliot and W. H. Auden abounds in Sullivan's long stanzas and page-width lyrics, which are littered with pitch perfect images ( Her fingers smell of Camel Lights and lavender ), succinct turns of phrase ( All summer you have been dreaming of Fall and its brittle confection of branches ), and exquisitely captured sentiments ( The itch of a lost quotation in a book you cannot find ). Sullivan elevates otherwise mundane daily interactions through artful specificity and repetition of sounds: Women pour milk on Kashi for the men from Tinder in the Mission. At times, playful and humorous ( the bad banana taste of Durex on your tongue ), Sullivan skillfully shifts gears to poignant and profound: The blur of oxytocin after labour is called joy, / But it is only like the morphine someone dying dies enjoying. Composed of three long poems, this volume presents an odd paradox: though intimidating in length, it leaves the reader wanting more. An antithesis to abbreviated Twitter poetry, Sullivan's lyrics are nonetheless accessible and exceptionally rewarding.--Diego Báez Copyright 2019 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Library Journal Review

Sullivan's T.S. Eliot Prize-winning debut collection moves through phases of the poet's life in three sections. "You, Very Young in New York," offers a richly detailed incantation of young adulthood ("Then a smear of olive lipstick, and you walk out into the night"). The California-set "Repeat Until Time: The Heraclitus Poems" battles against the predictable ("When things are patternless, their fascination's stronger"). Finally, "The Sandpit After Rain" evokes the simultaneous birth of a child and loss of a father (of them, she says, "there was a resemblance:/ Our slight awkwardness with each other"). Sullivan condenses everyday experience to something bright and malleable, rich in concrete detail. VERDICT Visceral, lived-in poems told with a classicist's control; though the long lines sometimes lack music, this is ultimately an accomplished volume from a poet to watch.

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