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A Recipe for Water [Paperback]

Gillian Clarke
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

24 April 2009
The drop of water on the tongue, writes Gillian Clarke, 'was the first word in the world', and the language of water is the element in which these poems live. Ocean currents create histories and cultures - the port cities of Cardiff and Mumbai; myths are born where great rivers have their source high in the mountains. A bottle of spring water contains the mineral elements of life; we can read the earth's deep history in arctic ice. We share the rhythms of migrations in the pull of tides and seasons through rivers and estuaries. In her first collection since becoming the National Poet of Wales in 2008, Gillian Clarke explores water as memory and meaning, the bearer of stories that well up from a personal and collective past to return us to the language of the imagination in which we first named the world.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Carcanet Press Ltd (24 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857549880
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857549881
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 13.2 x 0.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 419,861 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

'Gillian Clarke's poems ring with lucidity and power...her work is personal and archetypal, built out of language as concrete as it is musical.' - Times Literary Supplement --Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

Born in Cardiff, Gillian Clarke is a poet, playwright, editor, broadcaster, lecturer and translator (from Welsh). She edited the Anglo-Welsh Review from 1975 to 1984, and has taught creative writing in primary and secondary schools and at university level. She is a former president of Ty Newydd, the writers' centre in North Wales which she co-founded in 1990. Since 1994 she has been a tutor in Creative Writing at the University of Glamorgan. Clarke was the inaugural Capital Poet for Cardiff 2005-6. Her poetry is studied by GCSE and A Level students throughout Britain. She has given poetry readings and lectures in Europe and the United States, and her work has been translated into ten languages. She has a daughter and two sons, and now lives with her architect husband on a smallholding in Ceredigion, Wales, where they raise a small flock of sheep, and care for the land according to organic and conservation practice. She was appointed the National Poet of Wales in 2008.

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fab Welsh Poet 3 Jan 2011
Format:Paperback
I was introduced to Gillian Clarke's work at our local poetry group and I was so impressed that I immediately bought her Collected Poems. A Recipe for Water is her most recent collection published in 2009. She was made National Poet of Wales in 2008 and has recently received another award. Her work is both accessible and profound. Quote - " She explores water as memory and meaning." Her metaphors are vivid and arresting and so obvious when you think about them. - "Over the sea the starlings come in paragraphs" and
"All the spare light of the world is stored
in the folded wings of a pair of sleeping swans."
If you already know her poetry you will rejoice in this collection. If she is new to you then like me you are in for a treat - an epiphany. Do read her work.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful collection, full of gems 9 April 2011
By Jeremy Bevan TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This is a delightful collection of poems, in which the National Poet for Wales mainly explores, with great versatility and wide imaginative sympathy, some of the myriad meanings of water in all their diversity. And although associations between water and port cities like Cardiff and Mumbai are a rich source of inspiration, this is a collection in which water in nature predominates: as rivers on their journeys from mountain to sea; as ice; as storm; as home to otter, swan and kingfisher; as setting for the painting of a boat that evokes a whole series of reflections (`Severn').

Clarke is a visionary, celebrating elemental connections between past and present (`Bach at St. David's', `Llandāf Cathedral') and between the words of her forbears and her own (`Quayside'). She recalls, too, her own love of Welsh awakened in early childhood (`First Words'), particularly the liquid ll-, ll-, ll- of the language's many words whose meaning is connected in some way to water, words whose meaning she searches for, buried beneath the water-table of memory (`A Pocket Dictionary').

This is a tremendously versatile collection. There's an elegy for the July 7th 2005 bombings, and poems in memory of World War II massacres in France; poems about rugby; and verse in homage to Aneurin Bevan. Amidst death, Clarke celebrates a craftsman friend's survival `in the grain of things' (`Library Chair'), while amidst the mundane our `shoulder blades like broken wings' repeatedly suggest a world of the spirit just out of reach (`Coins' and elsewhere). The collection works beautifully, and there's very rarely a duff note - even if the section `Barrage' in `Severn', a protest against the now-abandoned Severn Barrage project, comes across as too polemical in tone, in my view.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
A Pocket Dictionary, Nettles, Man in a shower, Glacier, Mercury, Death's Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar, Gravity, Love at Livebait, Library Chair - some of my personal favourites, and examples of the varied subject matter Gillian Clarke confidently and successfully tackles in this 2009 collection. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars How to express feelings 18 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I came late to Gillian Clarke's work, after, much earlier, a brief but vivid taste of a few poems. Reading her now, the vivid understanding of emotions so vividly focussed in her words & imagery is really powerful. She gets it just right - you know & feel exactly what she means. For example, she understands the Severn & conveys the sheer strength & the formidable, unpredictable . legendary power of it, from the source in the high mountains to the Severn Bore, when it pushes back, against its normal flow, towards its source from the far West -
"a water-dragon is born"...
"rearing its crested head,
past cathedrals and towns,
a seven foot wave
rolling up-country
where no wave should be."
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous poetry 28 Dec 2013
By ninka
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I came to Gillian Clarke through helping my grand-daughter with her homework...what a fantastic poet! She is so moving and thought provoking and now I am an addict of her work.
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