- Hardcover: 64 pages
- Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (6 May 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0571259332
- ISBN-13: 978-0571259335
- Product Dimensions: 13.4 x 0.9 x 20.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Dart Hardcover – 6 May 2010
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More About the Author
'The Thing in the Gap-Stone Stile seductively commands delighted attention. In an age where "nature" poetry and spirituality are unfashionable, it is always exciting when someone does the job with panache and without being boring.' Guardian --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Dart by Alice Oswald is one of six wonderful collections published in celebration of Faber's rich poetry heritage.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Alice Oswald recorded many conversations she had with those who live and work on or near Dart River (in Devon). She used their voices, dialects, expressions, pleating them into this long multi-faceted text.
The resulting text is a mix of prose poetry rendering carefully selected and adjusted spoken language (the text never sounds as if it was the simple transcription of taped conversations) and quite lyrical poetry in stanzas.
It changes rhythm, tone, is rich in alliterations and plays on sounds. "Dart" refers to local people as well as to characters form the Greco-roman mythology.
The fact the poem goes on over 48 pages gives it a flowing quality, which cleverly suggests a river. Since the Dart is very short, most of the river is affected by the nearby sea's tides, and the mentioned animals, birds and fish can be either fluvial or marine.
Alice Oswald has managed to stitch sections end to end with almost invisible seams. She just changes subjects, makes them flow into each other.
This is a radically atypical piece, a long, creative journey into a world of water and words.
We begin with an "Old man seeking and finding a difficulty." A walker at Cranmere Pool, the source of the Dart. Legends haunt the river "I know you,/Jan Coo. A wind on a deep pool." The voices of a chambermaid, a fisherman, a forester, a worker from the Woollen Mills; then John Edmunds washed away in 1840:
I am only as wide
as a word's aperture
is followed by nearly a page of silence that is broken by the shouts and shapes of swimmers, whose arms and legs make letters ... S ... W ... M. Then the water extractor reminds us that "the real work of the river" is done by the "polyelectrolyte and settlementation and twizzling scum". It's left to `a dreamer' to bring romance and nature back to the river:
I saw a sheet of seagulls suddenly
flap and lift with a loud clap and up
into the pain of flying, cry and croup
and crowd the light as if in rivalry
to peck the moon-bone empty
The dairy worker speaks of "processing, separating, blending ... pathogens and spoilage"; the sewage worker's "stink-mass of loopaper" is removed from "a brown lagoon" over which he is "thinking illicit sneaking thoughts".Read more ›
This volume consists of a single poem of alternating verse and prose, and at one point a 25 line silence. Through the voices of a succession of people who live, work, or take recreation on, in or in proximity to the river - even drown in it - plus the voice of the river itself, we follow its 45 mile progress from moor to sea. Some of the less expected points of call are a small hotel, a woollen mill, a milk factory and a sewage works. All are memorable in their way, and we learn much from the voices encountered there, but the open moorland, the steeply descending section of the river inaccessible even to walkers, and the nominally faceless, but deep and timeless expanses of the estuary ultimately predominate.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A lovely book to keep close at hand and dip into. Oswald is so good on place and atmosphere.Published 6 months ago by MRS M M SIMPSON
A wonderful lyrical meander through the sights and sounds of Devon.Published 10 months ago by Andy Peggs
This is part poem and part story about the River Dart from source to mouth.
Oswald had interwoven nature, people and history into the short and memorable little book. Read more
It is so good to get such a well crafted piece of writing into a book form which feels and looks so good. Illustration on the front cover is perfect. Read morePublished on 8 Aug. 2013 by Hester Bee
I loved 'Dart', especially for what other reviewers have pointed out as the seamless way Alice Oswald blends "all names, all voices, Slip-Shape" into a "songline from the source to... Read morePublished on 5 July 2013 by Christopher S. Purcell